How to Stay Sane Working from Home
Ah, what a feeling. You've finally escaped that claustrophobic cubicle and the 9-to-5 grind of a "normal" job. How? You're working from home now! Maybe you have kids you want to stay home with or you just prefer freelancing. Whatever the reason, I'm sure you have found out by now that working from home isn't always as glamorous as it might have seemed. From daily distractions (those dishes in the kitchen sink will still be there when you're done working) to figuring out how to pay taxes, working at home comes with its own set of challenges. These challenges will make you lose your mind if you're not proactive. Here are some things I personally have to do to stay sane while working from home.
This one is still a work in progress for me personally but it is so important to designate part of your home to your work. I'm telling you from personal experience that working from bed, while it makes for a great Instagram photo, is not a good option. I can't tell you how many times I decided to take a nap in the middle of work because I was so comfy cozy in my bed instead of at a table or desk. Not to mention, trying to stay organized on a soft surface isn't really easy.
I strongly encourage you to find space in your home for a work space even if this means working from the kitchen table until you can afford a better solution.
Work in BATCHES
I know you've heard this before but, work in batches! This is one of the best productivity tips I’ve ever found. It leads to more productive work days and less time feeling guilty when you're not working. Check all your emails, then manage social media, then work on blog posts. Separate tasks by day or allot a few hours to each task. Multitasking is the enemy of productivity. Focus! You will end the work day feeling accomplished and cross a lot off of your to-do list.
Write it Down
How many times during the day does an idea for a new blog post float into your mind? Maybe you’re managing email accounts and you remember you’re supposed to create a new Pinterest board. By the time you get around to actually following through on these projects, you can’t remember the awesome idea you had earlier. It’s the worst!
Make sure you always have something available to jot down your ideas and thoughts. If you can write it down in more than one place, that's even better. Oftentimes, I will scribble a note onto my to-do list for the day but I will also open up a document in Google Docs created specifically for my random thoughts and add it there as well. I like to review these at the end of the day and again at the beginning of the following week so I can schedule time for them.
Remember how I said I'd take naps in the middle of my work day when I would work from my bed? Though I don't recommend doing that, I can't stress to you enough how important it is to put your work down and get some rest. I know when I stay up too late the night before, I'm not nearly as productive because my mind is all foggy. Literally, all I can think about is going back to bed because at home, it's so easy to do. Aim to get around at least 7 hours of sleep each night and I promise you'll actually get a lot more done than you would if you are staying up late and running on 4 or 5 hours of sleep each night.
Here's another way to avoid the brain fog - hydrate! We all know that our body is primarily made up of water so when we aren't staying hydrated we can't focus, create, or manage emotions nearly as well. I'm one of those people who just don't get thirsty so staying hydrated is definitely something I struggle with. Lately, however, I've been keeping a glass of water on the table at all times and tracking how much I drink each day in my planner. Whenever I'm feeling more stressed than usual, I drink a glass or two so I can process information and emotions better.
This might be the best thing you can do to maintain your sanity while working from home. I’ll warn you, it isn’t easy. It takes discipline to follow a schedule that you have set for yourself. But, as I'm sure you know, stopping the clock and taking time for yourself and your family is so important. There are days when I know I could just work and work and work but it isn't practical with a toddler to wrangle and a husband to spend time with. Your hours might not be all in one nice neat chunk during the day and that is okay! Maybe it's before everyone wakes up, during nap times, and an hour before you go to sleep. Batch your primary work from your side hustle to make the best use of your time.Find times that you can commit to and don't work past them! Make adjustments until you find something that works for your lifestyle and family.
It's easy to get down when you're at home all the time constantly trying to balance your job with housework and family life. I get it. That's why it's so important to get the blood flowing and release some happy endorphins. You don’t necessarily need to take an hour everyday to do an intense cardio workout but a quick walk around the block or 15 minute yoga session in your living room can really give you a pick me up. I know when I'm feeling stuck and ideas just aren't flowing, a walk in the fresh air works wonders.
Get Dressed + Get Ready
Okay, let's be honest. There will be periods of time during your work from home career that you forget to shower or don't get dressed for a few days because work is so stressful. All you do is jump out of bed and get into work. While this goes against my previous self care suggestions, it will happen. The important thing is not to make a habit of it. Put you first and it will come through in your work.
Separate Your Bank Accounts
If you're working from home, odds are you are self-employed, working freelance, or doing contract work. You're running your own small business! That means added responsibilities like managing operating expenses and saving for taxes. The best way to keep your finances organized is to separate personal expenses from your business expenses. DO NOT let your social media scheduling subscription come out of the same bank account you use to buy groceries. This will make filing taxes a nightmare for you or your accountant.
Save for Taxes
Speaking of taxes, when you work from home, you absolutely must take taxes out of your earnings before paying yourself. This probably takes the most discipline out of all of the processes necessary to run a home business. It’s also probably the most important if you want to avoid trouble with the IRS. Each pay day, take 25-30% out of your earnings and place it in a savings account you know not to use until tax day.
How do you stay sane while working from home? How long did it take for you to find a balance between work and your personal life?
About the author: Danae Bursae is a freelance virtual assistant and blogger working from home and paying off debt. To learn more about how she juggles a freelance career, family, and fun, follow her on Pinterest and check out her blog, HowSheHappened.com. Thanks, Danae for your amazing tips!
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