Whether a privilege or a matter of necessity, working from home is a reality for millions of Americans. Adjusting to the arrangement can be a challenge, especially at the beginning. Some people have trouble staying motivated, while others have difficulty maintaining a proper work-life balance when one seems to bleed into the other.
Self-care while working from home may sound indulgent, but it is actually key to strike the right balance, keeping up your productivity without burnout from pushing yourself too hard. Incorporating the following tips early on can help make your time spent working from home successful.
1. Pay Attention to Ergonomics
You should take care to protect yourself from injury while working. Instead of flopping down on the couch with your laptop on your knees, you should have a real desk and an adjustable chair so you can sit up with the proper posture. Avoid eye strain by taking frequent breaks from looking at your screen and consider investing in a pair of protective glasses from Blue Free Optical that filter out some potentially harmful wavelengths.
2. Set a Routine
While schedule flexibility can be a benefit of working from home, it can also turn into a burden. It can be very easy to let your work creep into your personal time. To prevent this from happening, establish a schedule of regular working hours for yourself. Turn off all work notifications when you are “off-the-clock.” For the most part, any remaining work matters will keep until tomorrow, and if something is really urgent, your supervisor will call you. When you’re creating your schedule, don’t forget to budget time for other self-care activities, such as a good lunch and exercise.
3. Designate a Workspace
When you have a space clearly delineated where you will do your work, it makes keeping regular working hours, maintaining a schedule, and making the most of personal time much easier. Not only that, but if you adhere to the rules set by the government, you may also be able to claim an income tax deduction for having a home office.
If possible, it is often helpful to convert a spare room into a home office so that you can shut the door for privacy when you are working and focus on your home life when you are not. However, not every home has an entire extra room to spare. You can still set up an out-of-the-way corner to designate as your workspace. To the extent possible, when you are in your workspace you should focus on work. When you are done for the day, you should leave your designated workspace behind and not return to it until you are ready to start again in the morning.
4. Make Time for Lunch
Another temptation of working from home is to graze throughout the day. Even if you are making time for exercise, which you should be, this isn’t very good for you, especially if you are not choosing snacks that are healthy. To maintain a consistent level of energy and avoid snacking on junk food throughout the day, plan healthy lunches and be sure to schedule enough time to prepare and enjoy them.
5. Get Enough Sleep
When you’re working from home, it can be tempting to take some liberties with your sleep schedule, staying up late one night and then making up for it by sleeping in the next morning or napping in the afternoon. Not only can your productivity take a hit as a result of this, but it can also interfere with your body’s natural rhythms. Going to sleep and waking up at a consistent time every day helps you maintain the energy level you need throughout the day.
6. Get Dressed
You don’t have to dress like you’re going into the office if you aren’t, but you should at least change out of your pajamas. Even dressing comfortably and casually sends a signal to your brain that you are getting ready for work now. If you don’t get dressed, your brain may not get the message, making it harder to focus and be productive.
Effective self-care while working at home involves striking a balance between self-discipline and flexibility for greater productivity.