Working from home is as amazing as you think it is, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
You—and only you—are in charge of the day. There’s no one telling you what to do. There’s no one checking to make sure you’re on top of your work. There’s no one to answer to.
While these all sound like good problems to have, they are, in fact, problems. Working from home takes self-discipline, and it might not be for everyone.
When I first started working from home, I went through what I like to call a ‘rebellious phase.’ No alarms set, no schedule in place, no rhyme or reason to my planning. Not shockingly, that only lead to a myriad of mistakes that left me feeling lost and confused. Once I snapped back into reality, I fell in love with working from home. Here’s how you can, too.
1. Get Dressed in the Morning—Even When You’re Not Going Anywhere
Yes, I am aware that one of the most amazing parts about working from home is that you get to wear (or not wear) anything that you want. I completely agree. I’m not suggesting that you get completely dressed, I’m merely suggesting to change out of your pajamas.
Staying in your pajamas doesn’t tell your brain that it’s time to get to work. You remain in your cozy spirit all day, and the productivity switch has a hard time flipping on. Getting out of your pajamas can help you better kickstart the day. Even if you change out of one pair of sweatpants into another, the action of changing into new clothes will help you get into a more productive mindset.
2. Don’t Work in Bed
When you work from home, your home becomes your everything—where you work, where you eat, where you relax, and where you sleep. When the lines get too blurred between home and office, it can make working from home unbearable.
Having a dedicated workspace will help keep your work life balance intact. This can help create the feeling of separation.
One place I’ll never work is in my bed. In general, I like to keep my room a tech-free environment. When I’m in my room, I feel “clocked out.” It’s a place where I can completely decompress after work.
3. Shut Off Your Computer at the End of Your Day
Speaking of feeling “clocked out,” when you work from home, you never really leave the office. This can make it seem like you always have to work or that you are always available to work.
I run into this problem a lot. It’s almost a guilt feeling. When you’re sitting and relaxing, you think, “Well, I’m not really doing anything. I’ll just keep working.”
This can lead to one of the major reasons why people don’t like working from home—burnout.
Ending your day is extremely important. One thing that has helped me create the feeling that I’ve left an office is shutting down my computer. This action helps me discipline myself to stop working and end my day.
4. Tune Out Distractions with Timers
Self-discipline is the hardest part of working from home. There’s no one looking over your shoulder keeping tabs on what you’re up to. At first, it can be challenging to stay focused. Some days, you might get swept up in a binge session of Riverdale. Others, you might be laser-focused on work.
Working from home is weird because you are in charge of your schedule.
If you’re like me, you’re tempted by many distractions throughout the day. Instagram, Netflix, YouTube—you name it. And when it’s sunny out, all I want to do is go outside. Using timers lets me have it all.
I have this app called Forest. It’s a timer app with a bit of a twist. You can set the amount of time you need to be focused, and once you hit start, a digital tree begins to grow. If you exit out of the app for any distractions, your tree will start dying. Once you complete your time, a tree will be planted in real life. It helps me budget my time, work harder, enjoy the full day, and feel good.
5. Remember How Lucky You Are
Every time I try to voice some of my concerns about working from home, my friends always have the same response, “You’re so lucky!”
They’re not wrong.
So many people wish they could be in your shoes. So, own it. Be grateful that you get to wake up and live your life the way you want. You get to skip the morning commute, the boring water cooler small talk, and the horrible office coffee.
While working from home may be challenging, it is truly a gift. When you’re feeling stir crazy, just remember how lucky you are.