Working from home can be incredible – but it can also be entirely unproductive if you aren’t intentional about making it work. Here are 5 things you HAVE to do to stay sane while working from home.
5 Things You HAVE to Do to Stay Sane While Working from Home
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Set a schedule and stick to it.
This is the first tip because it’s the most obvious one. A work-from-home schedule is NOT the same as going to the office, and if you convince yourself that it is… you’ll be missing out. I have two tendencies when working from home: one is to wake up at the last minute and get to work before my brain is fully awake, and the other is to work straight through the day and take almost no breaks. Neither one of those are ideal, but when you’re working from home, it’s easy to fall into those patterns.
Set a schedule that requires you to wake up at least an hour before you start work! Use the time that would be dedicated to a commute to enjoy your cup of coffee, listen to a podcast, or workout. Make sure that you get outside! Use part of your lunch break to take a walk and don’t feel glued to your desk (I promise, you’ll be more productive if you get moving).
Create a designated workspace – and don’t work outside of it.
Blurring the lines between work and relaxation is one of the most difficult (and detrimental) aspects of working from home. If you create a designated work space and promise to only work from that area of your home, it will be easier to turn “off” your work brain for the day. If you start working from your bed because you want to be cozy, it will hurt your ability to fall asleep later in the day. Your brain will be confused about whether it can go into sleep mode or awake mode in your bed, and your work and sleep schedules will get totally messed up.
Invest in “work clothes” to fit your new workspace.
Listen – we all pretend we’re going to wear business casual clothes when we’re working from home, but after two days of wearing “work pants” to walk to your kitchen for lunch, you’re ready to live in your pajamas. But pajamas won’t help you be productive!
Stop living in the in-between area! There’s no need to pretend you’ll wear business casual clothes in your home office, or that pajamas are acceptable for those serious Zoom meetings. Find clothing that is comfortable and wearable for your workspace. Joggers, comfortable jeans, and more casual shirts are your new go-to. When you have a fun and comfortable business wardrobe, you’ll start actually getting ready for work. (I also recommend getting some slippers. Your feet need to be comfortable, too!)
Set boundaries with the other people who are sharing your space to stay sane while working from home.
Maybe you’re living with a spouse/significant other, a roommate, or kids who are on a very different schedule than you. If you’ve recently made the transition to working from home, your housemates might have a difficult time adjusting to the fact that you being home doesn’t mean you’re always available. Explain your schedule and set basic rules to make sure no one gets frustrated and you can be productive. Guidelines like “when my office door is closed, I’m not available unless it’s an emergency” can save a lot of headaches!
Invest in desk and office supplies.
Working from home is still work. You’ve got to fight the tendency to say “yeah, that’ll do,” and invest in your workspace. If you’ve never sat in your desk chair for more than three hours at a time, you might find that you need to upgrade to an ergonomic chair. If you’re working from a laptop, you’ll probably need a laptop stand, wireless mouse, and wireless, ergonomic keyboard (as someone with neck issues, the laptop stand is a MUST).
For some reason, I am much more confident that I’ll remember tiny details of my work when I’m at home than when I’m in an office – and my memory is exactly the same. When I started using more sticky notes and notebooks, as I normally would in an office, I kept track of everything much better. Get the office supplies that you need to be successful. If you want recommendations about what supplies you need in your office, you can check out my blog post about work-from-home essentials here!
Now, you know what you have to do to stay sane while working from home!
Working from home has so many perks. It’s flexible, comfortable, and allows you to craft a routine that works for you. Follow these guidelines and you'll be in much better shape with your work-from-home routine!