Many of us work from home. I’m sharing four practices from lessons I learned over the years. When put into practice, they will improve your “working from home” experience.
- Create a schedule
- Create a productive environment
- Make your health a priority
- Nurture relationships
Create a Schedule
Working from home gives you the freedom to create your own schedule. Creating your own schedule is not the same as working whenever. Working whenever you want leads to blurred lines and burnout. You end up always being on and miss out on crucial rest and recovery. When this happens your productivity and well-being suffer.
I burned out several times and now better recognize the signs. I learned to create habits to help me be more intentional with my time.
- Create a schedule. My office hours are from 9am – 6pm CST.
- Block times for projects and calls/meetings. (View Calendar Tips)
- I block mornings for focused work. In the afternoons I co-work, schedule calls, and attend meetings.
- Mondays and Fridays are blocked for admin, prep work, and travel when needed. These bookends allow me to be prepared instead of rushed and stressed.
- My weekends, I use to recharge, unplug, and do something creative.
Create a Productive Environment
Being organized helps with clarity, focus, and productivity. You don’t need a lot of accessories or pretty things to do great work. I have a little black desk, laptop, planner, journal, and G2 pilot pen. These have served me the best over the years and make it easy to work anywhere.
- I bought a riser recently to raise the height of my laptop camera for better viewing and posture.
- I keep my earbuds easily accessible in a jar on my desk. Charging cords are wrapped to the side.
- I close everything down and clear my desk each night. This allows me to have a fresh start in the morning. I started this habit 20 years ago and it continues to serve me well. It allows me to start each day with a fresh desk.
- Take advantage of the light. Position your desk close to a window. Natural light has a positive effect on your mood. Use a desk lamp on cloud days and when the sun sets early during the winter.
Make Your Health a Priority
It is easy to forgo your health when you’re building a business. It can be worse if you’re working from home. I gained weight. I felt depressed from the lack of human interaction. I experienced several anxiety attacks. Then I had an emergency appendectomy. Many of these situations were due to the stress I put myself under. We can ignore our health, but our body tells us when we are on overload. We’re not invincible. A couple of months before the appendectomy I decided I had to change my habits. It was necessary to improve my health and sustain my business.
- Schedule time to get away from your desk for lunch. You need a brain break. This gives you to reflect on challenges and gain clarity.
- Get exercise EVERY day. Those endorphins give you energy. This can be stretching, yoga, cardio, walking your dog, etc. The key is to break a sweat. Your accomplishments in exercise translate back to your work. I do cardio 4x/week for 45 minutes and the benefits physically and mentally have paid off. I have a gym in my building, but I stretch and do weights in my home.
- Choose healthy snacks and food to maintain clear thinking and energy. My preferred go-to snacks are nuts and dried fruit. My cheat is Sour Cream Lays and it leaves me in a carb fog so I try limit them.
Schedule time to connect with peers during the week. Keeping these connections alive is critical for your emotional and mental well-being.
- Make a list of people. For me, these are relationships I want to develop and nurture. You can do virtual coffee dates and co-working. I schedule recurring monthly calls with peers to check-in. I also call or FaceTime my family weekly.
- Find or create your own community. I intentionally build relationships online by adding to conversations on Twitter. Recently I’ve enjoyed participating in Clubhouse conversations. Your preferred platform may be different. Do what works best for you.
- Attend events where you can participate. I emphasize this because there is a difference in the type of connection created when you’re an active participant versus a passive observer. Look for events where you can show up and engage with peers.
What are your questions or tips? Share below.