How to work from home and stay sane

by Claudia, Writing Intern

Close your eyes and imagine this. (Okay maybe don’t close your eyes, since you need to read.)

You wake up at 9 a.m., make some breakfast, turn on the TV, open your laptop and get to work, all without putting on pants. Seems great, right? Everyone dreams of having their own schedule and wearing pajamas all day.

But working at home has a lot of drawbacks if you don’t know how to handle it well. Last year, I got first-hand experience on how it feels and let me tell you, it was really hard after a while.

I stopped showering most days because I wasn’t leaving the house anyway, didn’t eat enough or only ate snacks, had no friends since they were always at work, and had a hard time finding the motivation to get things done.

Although I no longer work primarily from home, I figured out some solid ways to keep from letting the depression get to me when I was in that situation. These tips can help anyone who is considering becoming a remote or contract worker!

Take care of yourself

Above all else, practice self-care. Shower at least every other day, wash your face in the morning so you feel refreshed, brush your teeth, all of the normal personal hygiene things. Get some exercise, or at least open up your blinds so you can get some vitamin D.

But also take time to do things you love. For me, it’s reading. In my downtime, I had always browsed social media, but I realized it never left me feeling refreshed or satisfied. Reading does. Find out what makes you happy and do it more often!

Designate work hours

Whether it’s the middle of the night or 8-5, try to only work during designated hours. Set aside time to spend time with your family, friends, or even just yourself. If you are constantly rebounding between work and little breaks, you’ll feel like you never have a real break and you’ll burn out faster.

If you can, give yourself weekends. Set aside days where you don’t work. At all. It’s hard to draw the line when you do everything at home, but find that line.

Keep a planner

Invest in a good planner that will help you achieve your goals. Stop writing to-do lists in your Notes app or on a Post-It note. I recommend Inkwell Press planners because they focus on more than just your day-to-day tasks.

Clean your home regularly

It’s hard to focus on work when you have two-day old cereal milk sitting next to you. Set a timer for 30 minutes every few days and just clean. It flies by and you’ll feel more relaxed and focused afterward. (Even just vacuuming can make a home feel cleaner.)

Find a coffee shop or café you love

Put some pants on and get out of your dang house. Don’t spend every second there. You’ll go crazy. Find a few hangout spots around town where you can bring along your work and spend a few hours people watching. It’s a lot more fun than having a staring contest with your dog.

Network with other home workers

What’s better than getting out of the house? Getting out of the house with other people. Find other home workers and set up work-dates at one of your hangout spots! You’ll get to work and socialize at the same time.

What other tips do you have for working successfully at home? Studies say that freelance workers are quickly becoming the norm. Share your ideas with those who are just joining the gig economy.

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