If you’re transitioning from a day job in an office to working for yourself, you may struggle with working alone. Even if you’re an introvert, it can be hard to make the switch from being surrounded by people to being by yourself.
Another challenging aspect to working from home is that your distractions are multiplied. There’s the TV with episodes of your favorite show, the dog that wants attention, the dishes that need to be washed. It can be hard to shut everything off and be in work mode, even when you’re lounging around in your PJs talking to yourself.
Here are some tips on how to create a healthy work environment in your home:
1. Find your best time
Everyone works differently. Even though you might have been used to coming in between 9-5, now you have the freedom to choose your own hours. Some people work best in the evening, while others are more productive in the early afternoon.
When you work, keep track of how much you get accomplished and how you feel at different times of the day. It might take a few weeks to figure out when is your optimal working time.
Once you figure that out, schedule your most important work during that time. You want to take advantage of your brain’s natural tendencies instead of forcing yourself to do work when you need a break.
2. Take active breaks
Many people who work from home say that they gain weight without an office to walk around. Think about how much walking you do at work -whether it’s to see your boss, to join a meeting on a different floor, to grab something from the printer, to chat with a coworker. If you’re at home and you don’t live in a mansion, it can be hard to get all those steps in.
The great thing about working for yourself is you have the flexibility to compensate and be more active. Every hour, find a reason to stretch and walk around. You can take a few minutes and straighten up the living room. You can take your dog outside and play a quick game of fetch. You can do pushups and squats in your kitchen in between assignments.
It’ll require more thinking to be active at home, but it’ll also make you more productive and happier.
3. Set limits on emails and social media
When you’re working from home, you have to stay focused. It can be hard enough being in a non-office environment. Being distracted on the computer doesn’t help.
I recommend setting appropriate limits on checking your email and social media. For the most part, anything that’s truly urgent will result in a phone call, not an email. I like to work for a few hours without interruption before checking my email. That way, I’m not feeling stressed about new deadlines before I’ve started my day.
Taking a break to check and respond to emails is a good way to ensure that my inbox stays low and I’m not worrying about responding to people.
You also have to set limits on social media. It can be tempting to post more often once you’re home and not surrounded by people, but you also can’t waste your time stalking your old coworkers to see if they miss you. Set limits and times on when you can check social media, and you’ll find yourself not even missing it.
Looking for more advice on home based businesses? Check out these articles.