Working from home isn’t a novelty for a full-time digital nomad like myself. Yet, it still might feel unusual for those who’ve never done it before.
Remote work requires a lot of self-discipline and a few magic tricks to successfully manage your work-life balance and stay productive at the same time. Whether it’s a well-organized workspace, regular breaks, time-management apps, or a meditation session, after all, it’s up to you to decide what works best for your new work-from-home life.
Today, I’m going to share a few tips that have helped me stay productive while working from home and (hopefully) you can take advantage of them too. So, read on to discover the best ways to handle your remote work lifestyle.
Tip #1: Don’t Work Where You Sleep
I know it might sound tempting, and sometimes I also cannot resist working in bed. But please, try not to do it, or at least not do it often.
The key to a work-life balance is to define your workspace clearly, especially if you don’t have a dedicated office room in your place. Understanding where work starts and ends will help you manage your time better and feel less stressed.
If you choose to work from bed all the time, at some point, you might forget the difference between rest and work. You also might not be able to relax since your sleep place is also your work “office.” So, if you don’t want to feel like you have to work all the time, do not work where you sleep. Simple as that.
Find a desk in your house/apartment where you will work and remember that you are not at work once you leave that spot. And you don’t have to check on it or feel guilty that you’re not working.
Tip #2: Take Breaks to Avoid Burnouts
If you have had no experience working from home or anywhere in the world, at first, you might feel euphoric about the fact that you don’t have to commute and sit in an office or cubicle all day long.
However, with time, the excitement will slowly fade away, and you might start feeling overwhelmed. When it happens, you should know that it’s time to take a deep breath and relax for a moment before returning to completing your tasks.
We’re all humans, not robots. It’s okay to feel tired, stressed, and even frustrated while working from home. That’s why it’s critical to stop and do something to unwind whenever you feel like your brain is melting. It can be anything: reading a few pages of your favorite book, a 10-minute yoga session, a nap, or just one episode of some TV show.
Of course, there will be times when you have tight deadlines and don’t have time for a rest. However, if you make a habit of taking breaks when you feel exhausted, you’ll be able to maintain a better work-life balance.
Tip #3: Close Your Laptop After a Certain Hour
I know it’s hard to stay away from the screen, especially if you use it for both work and entertainment. Yet, try not to use it after you finish your workday at home, or at least don’t use it for work.
Often, I caught myself checking Slack messages or responding to clients when I was supposed just to relax and enjoy my evening or weekend. Thus, I suggest you don’t make the same mistake and “forget” about work after you’re done with it.
When you’re in the office, you know you have to work. Once you leave the office, you know you’re free to do whatever your heart desires. Take the same approach when working from home. After you finish working, spend time chatting with your loved ones, meeting up with friends, or simply relaxing. Don’t waste that precious time to constantly worry about checking up on your work when you’re actually supposed to take some time for yourself.
For example, I try not to look at my laptop after 10 pm. It helps me refresh my thoughts and stay sane while working from home. Trust me; your mind will thank you for that later on.
Tip #4: Use Time-Tracking Apps
Sometimes, it’s hard to access your workload and how much time you need to complete a particular task. Here’s when time-tracking apps come in handy.
Once you know how much it takes you to finish some assignments, you’ll be able to manage your day better and track how much time you spend working in general. I, for example, use Toggl to track various tasks for clients and some other internal assignments I have. It’s free, and it’s easy to navigate. What else can you ask for?
There were times when I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything during the day, and it really bumped me out. However, with the help of a time-tracking app, I was able to see that some tasks take much more time to finish and that I shouldn’t be upset that I didn’t manage to complete them in one day.
Another good reason to track your time is to know your worth, especially if you’re a freelancer. It gives you a chance to better understand the value of your time and whether you’re getting paid enough for your expertise and the time you spend to deliver your work.
Tip #5: Take It Easy
Even though it sounds like a cliche, it does help. Don’t take your life too seriously. You live to and work to be happy and do things you love the most. That’s why having the right mindset about working from home is very important.
Stress and overthinking have never helped anyone feel good. So, make sure you’re doing everything you can to avoid it. Of course, there will be hard situations when you can’t help feeling upset or unhappy. However, if you learn to manage your stress levels and don’t let problems get too deep into your head, you’ll feel a huge relief.
If you catch yourself worrying about work, take a moment to think about it. On the one hand, it’s good because it indicates that you feel responsible for the business you work for. On the other hand, it’s terrible for your well-being.
Solution: Keep on being responsible but also do not forget about your health. And if there’s some work complication that stresses you out, ask for help. If your teammates are as caring as mine, they’ll be more than willing to assist you and save you from being overwhelmed.
Working from home has become a new normal, and you need to know how to adjust to it seamlessly. Even though it might be hard in the beginning, once you get used to it, you’ll be managing your time like a pro.
The main thing you have to remember is to maintain a healthy work-life balance while working from home.
Find out what helps you avoid burnouts, relax when needed, define your workspace, and don’t think about work all the time. Once you do that, you’re already less than halfway from becoming a successful and happy remote worker.