During an uncertain time in business history, a portion of people have been forced to uproot their office lives and start working from home. If you’re one of them, you might be wondering how it’s possible to stay sane and on top of it all during the transition. Fortunately, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure you stay sane and productive while you’re doing all of your work from home.
Separate Work and Play — Literally
One of the most beneficial parts of working in one space and relaxing in another is the knowledge that you have a dedicated space where you don’t need to be productive all the time. When you work from home, that separation of space is upended. The first few days of working from home might be alright without separation of space, but you want to be productive for the long haul, here. For that reason, creating a separate workspace can be a lifesaver. As much as you might want to, do not work from your couch, your bed, or on the floor. These spaces are not workspaces. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few ways you can create a separate, productive working space in your home:
- Invest in a good chair. Almost 50% of working people complain about back pain in a given year, and working from home in a cheap folding seat isn’t going to help that. Don’t use a chair from your kitchen. Your work chair is for work only.
- Designate a “work only” zone. Whether it’s a desk or a section of your dining room table, keep work in one place. This will help create separation even if you live in a one-bedroom apartment. When you’re not working, that space is off limits!
- Get creative with dividers. If you live in a studio apartment or share living space with someone else, it helps to have physical barriers between work and living space. Use house plants, pillows, yarn, or anything else you can think of that will help you feel like you’re in a separate space for work.
Stick to a Schedule
When you’re at home surrounded by distractions that aren’t present while you’re in the office, it can get tough to stick to a schedule. You may not realize it, but the very same structure that made you a star performer at work can help you keep being a star performer when you work from home. The average business has almost 25 competitors, and you can’t very well compete without excellent performance on your part. So when you’re tempted to sleep in until noon or work late at night, think twice before you mess up your mental schedule. For optimal sanity and productivity, keeping close to your normal working hours and daily schedule can be extremely helpful. If you have a planner for work, keep it at your home workstation and fill it out as you normally would. Your to-do lists and other work-related duties are going to get done much more efficiently if you maintain your work schedule as best as you can.
Give Yourself Permission to Take a Break
Fortunately, it’s not all about keeping your nose to the grindstone. Humans aren’t built to work through an eight-hour day without stopping. Making mental rest a priority throughout your day — even if it’s just for five minutes every hour or so — can help you maintain your sanity and productivity. And when you’re working from home, taking a moment to step outside of your work zone and into the comfort of a calming space can help you stay centered in the face of uncertainty. Here are a few ways to utilize small breaks throughout the day:
- Step outside for a few minutes to enjoy the fresh air.
- Take a moment to pet your dog or cat.
- Ask your partner or roommate how their day is going.
- Grab a small snack from the kitchen.
- Read an article or blog about something that interests you.
- Take a 10-minute nap.
Not every break looks the same, but the fact remains that productivity often hinges on being mentally present. Working yourself to the brink of mental exhaustion doesn’t help that.
Get Ready in the Morning
It may seem pointless when you’re working from home, but getting ready in the morning can help you get into the mindset of going to work. Your version of “getting ready” doesn’t have to include getting dressed in full business attire or a full face of makeup. But keeping up with your skincare routine, good hygiene, and sensible working clothes can all contribute to a feeling of mental preparedness for the day ahead. In addition, getting ready in the morning can help you feel good about logging on for that video call you have later in the day. If someone can form an impression of your website in 0.05 seconds, imagine how fast they can form an impression of you based on how you look working from home. Looking the part can help others stay in a work mindset, too.
Working from home is a big adjustment. It’s okay to recognize that while you’re taking steps to remain sane and productive during these strange times. With these tips at your disposal, you should be a work from home pro in no time.
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