“Working from home, I’ve got ideas in my head and a desire to succeed. But well, I also have Netflix.”
When I had my corporate Monday thru Friday 9 to 5 job, my favorite day of the week was Wednesday. Why, you ask? Because it was my work from home day!I loved every minute of it. I would sit on the couch in my pajamas, play Netflix in the background, and answer e-mails and generally be as lazy (physically, not mentally!) as possible.
When I quit my job in April 2016, I couldn’t believe that I got to make every day a work from home day. It was like a dream come true!
Little did I know working from home five days a week is a lot different than working from home one day a week. After just one week of designing from the couch, my back was in knots, my hand was getting arthritis, and I felt like the laziest bum on the planet.
If anything, this past year of being self-employed has taught me about how to work from home in a mindful and healthy way. In a culture where it is becoming more common to have work from home days, it is important to understand how you can make the most of these days, so that you are not only productive in your responsibilities but also taking care of yourself.
And no, I will not be suggesting naptime. Sorry. 🙂
Here are some tips and tricks I would recommend to anyone who has the opportunity to work from home. You could be self-employed, employed by a company, or even Moms and Dads who stay at home could perhaps learn some tips here!
Decide on a habitual schedule and stick to it
You don’t have to have a mundane same schedule every day. However, in general, I recommend choosing a morning ritual, as well as an active ritual.
- Morning Ritual: For my own morning ritual, the first thing I do when I wake up is drink a glass of water. This is a great way to hydrate and give you energy first thing in the morning. I then brush my teeth, wash my face, and moisturize my skin. I eat a protein bar, change into my active clothes and head out the door for either yoga or running or [fill-in-the-blank] activity. When I return, I shower, get dressed and boil a cup of tea with honey to get my workday off to a great start.
- Active Ritual: Getting active and sweaty helps you get out of the house at least once a day, and not to mention all of the other benefits of being active! I recommend choosing a few fitness classes a week that you like to go to. If you choose M, W, and F at 7:30am, then hold yourself accountable to those times.
This can be more important than you even realize. Showering gives you a fresh (pun intended) perspective on your day. Being clean makes you feel more presentable. One big callout: waiting until 4pm so you shower before your partner comes home is not technically the same thing. 😉
Change out of your PJs
Believe me, I know how comfortable they are! Sometimes I still wear my PJs because they just feel so much better! However, I find that I always feel “less productive” on the days I wear PJs. It is a psychological shift from feeling cozy and introverted (ready for bed) versus feeling productive for your day.
Work from a Desk or Table
Again, I know how comfortable the couch is! However, there is a couple good reasons why this lowers your productivity and in general is tough on your health. First and foremost, most couches are not set up for you to have proper alignment in the spine. This leads to back, neck and shoulder pain. Also, if your computer, keyboard and mouse are sitting on/next to your lap, they are not set up for correct alignment. This can lead to wrist, hand and shoulder pain quite quickly. Boo! On top of that, if you are listening to background TV noise, I would argue that typing an e-mail is never worse than when you are listening to something else. I have gone back and read e-mails I wrote when I had Netflix on and, you would be amazed at the typos!
I am a firm believer in drinking water. That said, I always forget to drink water. Does this ever happen to you?! What I do to counteract this is, I have a 16 oz mug that I keep next to my computer (and me) at all times. When it is empty, I know that is the time to get up and fill it. No excuses. No e-mail or phone call is more important than water. I bet I have 30 more ounces of water per day just because of this simple habit.
Set your Alarm
This is sort of silly but, it works. Set your alarm or calendar to go off every 1-2 hours (depending on what feels best for you), and let it be a gentle reminder to get up and do something else. Even if it’s just to walk to the other end of the house, or step outside for a quick jaunt around the neighborhood or grab a cup of coffee. I find that the best ideas I have are when I am away from my desk. When I come back to my desk, I have more clarity on what I want to accomplish in the next couple of hours. Works like a charm!
Keep in mind, I have many times rearranged my habitual schedule to accommodate a special occasion or appointment. Don’t worry about changing it up; just as long as in general you are sticking to a schedule. Remember, it’s all about balance.
Working from home is a pleasure, and we are so lucky to live in a day and age in which working from home is even a possibility. Above all else, I recommend you look at it as a way to balance a healthy lifestyle: get your work done, and turn Netflix off. Or at least on low. 🙂