3 Important things I’ve learned about working from home
Working from home has its advantages there’s no denying that. My favourite being the fact I can eat whenever I want to. But there are pitfalls we must be mindful of when it comes to our physical and mental health if we are working in the same place we eat, sleep and (try to) relax. I have been working from home for nearly 7 months now and whilst I’m sure there are plenty more to be stumbled upon and many more the seasoned work-from-homers out there could tell me about but here are 3 important discoveries I have made on my journey so far...
1. The way the day starts is VITAL. It’s always tempting to stay in bed a little longer. There’s no commute, there’s no one expecting me to be at the office at a certain time and it’s a miserable day outside so why can’t I answer all my emails from my bed? When I first started working from home this temptation occasionally got the better of me (it was January so the flat was also freezing which didn’t help) but I have since found that this does not make for a productive day. I do however still enjoy waking up slowly so now I wake up earlier so I have time to enjoy my first coffee in bed, I then get up and get myself into the light. Whether it’s sitting in an open window, running on the common or walking in the garden I know getting the morning sunlight on my skin and in my eyes will set me up for the day ahead properly.
If you don’t feel productive in the mornings I cannot recommend getting outdoors first thing more. Your body expects to see sunlight when you wake up. It doesn’t have to be blazing sunshine–even the rays on a grey December day have the power to wake you up.
2. Where did all these distractions come from? Working from home means being constantly surrounded by endless distractions: the living room needs decorating, the washing needs doing, I should really hang that picture frame up, maybe I should hoover… this list goes on. But if your work requires full time hours from you then it’s important to ignore these distractions as best you can before you end up tidying your and the neighbour’s house! For me the best way to do this is to work from one room, at my desk, that I keep tidy and distraction free. It’s tough to escape the endless entertainment of the internet but it is possible to create an environment free from needless distractions. Try clearing out your workspace only keeping the bare essentials around you. This really helps me to stay motivated and allows me to focus on what I’m doing.
3. Switching off is a must. I’m sure anyone that works from home is guilty of working too much. Without everyone around you starting to pack up it’s easy to lose track of time. I sometimes find I get so stuck into something that I just keep going until I need to eat. This isn’t good, especially when it’s dark outside and your body should be calming down and not subjected to all that blue light your computer screen is bellowing out. I have found the best way to combat this over-working dilemma is to set myself targets for the day and setting a time that I need to finish by. I then make sure I leave my laptop at my desk and don’t use it in the evening unless I really need to. This has a dramatic effect on my sleep–I am able to switch off, relax and fall asleep instantly if I have taken myself away from the stresses of work and the glow of my computer screen early on. If you really do need to work in the evenings, which I know we all do every now and then, I recommend wearing blue blocking glasses whilst on your computer.
I would love to hear what you find helpful/difficult when working from home. Any tips/tricks are always welcome so please feel free to leave your comments below.