On the surface, working from home (WFH) sounds easy and like a total dream come true, and to be honest with you, there are a ton of benefits to it (“you’re telling me that I can sleep longer, avoid traffic, AND stay in my PJ’s?! Sign me up!”). However, there’s also one major challenge that we need to address: you’re literally WORKING where you’re supposed to relax.
When you leave your office at the end of the day, you’re able to create a physical barrier between you and your work. You will likely have an easier time disconnecting from your day and may even find yourself separating yourself from it quicker. However, when you’re working from home, suddenly you’re spending all of your time in the same area, making the lines between work life and personal life blur a lot more. Working from home can feel distracting, lonely, and it can be difficult to feel motivated.
Also read: 10 Ways to Stay Motivated
10 Ways to Better Your WFH Life
1. Create a solid morning routine
Some people love routines, and some people hate them. Regardless of how you may feel about them, they can act as an amazing way to get your brain ready for the next task at hand. When you work from home, it can be so tempting to stay in bed until the last possible second so you can throw some clothes on and log on when your day officially begins, and while that may not be an awful idea once in a while if you’re feeling a little extra tired or worn out, you may benefit from having a solid morning routine. When you think of a morning routine, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the beauty guru’s morning routines from back in the day on YouTube and assume we need to do everything under the sun. A morning routine could be as simple as waking up at the same time every day, eating some breakfast, and taking a moment for yourself before you start your day. We’re basically just treating this as a time to allow your body to wake up and feel ready to tackle the day ahead.
2. Find a dedicated spot to work
Depending on how long you’ve been working from home, if you were thrown into it during the global pandemic, or if this is a temporary situation, can all influence your WFH setup and downright preparedness. For example, if you applied for and were hired for a specific WFH position, you likely would have had time to prepare yourself for it by setting up a more permanent setup with a desk and possibly even have a door that closes. However, if you were given a notice at work that said something along the lines of “due to the current situation in the world you need to work from home to stay safe and you’ll eventually be back in the office but it’s unclear when so you’ll need to figure it out in the meantime,” then you may hesitate a little more to invest in your setup. Working from home can quickly blur the lines between personal life and professional life, especially if we don’t have a dedicated space to work. Even if you don’t have an office (or even a desk), try to find a place that can act as your dedicated workspace. This could even be as simple as a specific chair at the kitchen table, a spot on the couch, or a corner of your apartment. Reserve this particular place for work so your brain can begin to distinguish this area as your work area. Just like how you’d leave the office at the end of the day, leave this particular spot when you’re done working. It may feel silly or confusing at the beginning, but stick with it, and over time you’ll begin to form a habit.
Also read: 8 Reasons Why Your Space Matters
3. Wear pants
Does this one really need to be said? Well, yes. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be jeans or anything too restricting. Getting dressed is basically an indicator to your brain that your day is starting, which can help to distinguish between personal life and work life. If you have virtual meetings throughout the day, it can feel tempting to only get dressed from the waist up and leave your PJ pants on, but this isn’t exactly the best way to separate work life and personal life. Try to get fully dressed, even if that just means throwing on some leggings or changing into some comfy shorts. As long as you didn’t sleep in it (and it isn’t just your underwear), it should be a step up.
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4. Pay attention to your posture
In general, sitting hunched over a computer all day isn’t the best for your posture. Add in the fact that working from home can often mean lacking ergonomic office chairs or working on the couch or at the coffee table, and your posture may be struggling even more. To avoid long-term implications to your back, try to pay attention to how you’re sitting, and adjust where possible.
5. Take proper breaks
Not only is it important to remember to take a break in general when you’re working from home, but it’s also important to remember to create a sense of normalcy while you do it. If possible, try to spend some time in different areas of your home, or even get outside for a walk. Breaks allow us to recharge our batteries to help carry us throughout the rest of the day, which can help us avoid burning out.
Working from home can be extra challenging because it can feel like a multitude of things vying for your attention. You’re basically staring directly at whatever you need to accomplish, which can feel overwhelming and challenging. Single-tasking basically just means focusing on the single task at hand. Think about it this way, when you’re in the office, you don’t even have the option to do laundry, so treat working from home the same way. It’s important to remember that you’re human, so don’t spread yourself too thin trying to accomplish everything at once.
7. Have healthy snacks readily available
Let’s face it when the afternoon slumps hit, so can the munchies. To avoid getting too hungry or tired, keep healthy snacks on hand and readily available. Think about things that will keep you full, will give you the energy you need to finish off the day, and that you actually enjoy.
Also read: Beating the Afternoon Slumps in Quarantine
8. Get some sun
Safely, of course. Without having an office to go to, working from home means that we sometimes need to be more intentional when it comes to getting out of the house – or even getting to see the daylight at all. According to Healthline, sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin [which is] associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. Make sure you open your blinds in the morning, and if possible, try to sit in a sunny room in your house, or get outside for a walk during your lunch. Just make sure you remember your sun safety with sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.
9. Make sure you’re drinking enough
Making sure you get enough water in a day is one of those strangely difficult parts of being a young adult. The good part about working from home means that you can have water with you at all times, and can easily fill it up when you need to. If possible, try to get a large water bottle that you can track your water intake throughout the day.
10. Create a routine to end your day
Do something to signal to your brain that your day is over. This could be something like taking your dog for a walk, changing out of your ‘work’ clothes, or even taking a shower. It doesn’t need to be complicated, just try to stay consistent so it can become a habit.