Do you ever feel lonely working from home? Don’t fret – It’s easier than you think to stay sane when working from home.
According to a Gallup survey, 43% of employed Americans said they spend at least some time working remotely. Whether you’re a freelancer doing your own thing, a business owner or part of a remote team, you know how isolating working from home can be at times.
I’ve been a remote employee, a freelancer and a small business owner since 2014, and I’ve learned some tools of the trade along the way. Here are some great tips to stay sane when working from home.
Tip #1: Structure Your Day
Being able to make your own schedule is a huge benefit of freelancing or owning your own small business. For some people, this can be a slippery slope.
Decided on and sticking to a schedule is incredibly important to stay sane and organized when working from home. If you’re a night-owl who left your 9-5 for a more flexible life, try shifting your schedule to 11am-7pm.
If you deal directly with clients, try getting up earlier to make sure you’re getting to their responses right away. It’s your business, so you even have the option to break up your day. Try working in two big blocks twice a day. Depending on the field of work you’re in, this flexibility will differ, but just remember to stay consistent and give yourself and your work from home day some much-needed structure.
Tip #2: Disable App Notifications
This one trick was a game changer for me.
When I first started working from home, I felt incredibly overwhelmed and was constantly distracted. Without a boss to impress, I was suddenly able to check my phone whenever I wanted to. But I quickly realized this wasn’t necessarily a good thing – I missed forcing myself to be away from my phone.
You do not need to get a notification that your cousin commented on a picture you posted last summer. Or that your old coworker is checking into an airport in Kansas. These are all notifications that you can review once you open these apps on your own time.
Staying sane while working from home means being the boss of your own time, so tell those apps who is boss and look at them when you are ready to focus on them, not only when these apps notify you to engage with them. Apps are psychologically and strategically designed to distract us and remind us that they exist, so disabling app notifications goes a long way with staying sane and focused working from home!
Tip #3: Work Hard, Play Hard
This may seem counter-intuitive, but staying busy outside of work helps keep you saner while you are working. Make sure you have a hobby that you’re actively engaged with after work. Take a dancing class, join a running group, or enjoy a night out.
This can help you switch out of work mode (especially if you haven’t been around people all day because you’re working from home!). When you return to work, you’ll be more refreshed and ready to jump on your day.
It’s especially important to reward yourself for all your hard work. And it is hard work, working from home, so don’t forget to treat yourself to extracurriculars.
Tip #4: Clean Your Designated Space
Working from your bed or sectional can be relaxing, but it doesn’t put your brain into work mode. Keep a designated area where you work and follow these guidelines:
Use a desk
Have a sturdy chair
Always keep a tidy workspace
Tip #5: Listen to Something
Working in silence is boring. Turn on your Spotify or Pandora for some light background noise.
Try listening to Jazz stations without vocals if you find some types of music distracting. Or, invest in a simple white noise machine to drown out any unnecessary distractions from little noises around your house.
Tip #6: Co-Work
If you live in a bigger city, you may not have the luxury of a spacious floor plan that accommodates a separate room for a home office.
Or, you may be looking for a designated work area that gets you out of your house completely. Co-working is a fantastic option and there are locations available globally. If you aren’t familiar with co-working, it’s shared office space. It’s also a fantastic way to meet other small business owners, remote workers, and entrepreneurs.
Here’s another very cool fact about co-working: There’s an entire passionate community based around co-working, and every co-working space is unique. But co-working isn’t for everyone. Before you make the jump, make sure to educate yourself on The Pros and Cons of Co-Working Spaces.
These spaces usually involve membership fees or general hourly or daily rates, but for many, the benefits make the cost well worth it. Check one out in your area and see if you feel like it would be a good fit!
Tip #7: Get A Pet
Although they may distract you by needing to be let out or prancing in front of your monitors from time to time, a pet can make a wonderful work from home companion.
Whether you work from home or in an office – jobs can be stressful. Pets can help alleviate depression, stress, and anxiety with what’s called “the pet effect”.
The Shelter Pet Project has a fantastic search tool to help you find your perfect pet close to home.
Tip #8: Make Calls
Honestly, who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
Sure, you can do a lot of your business over email and text these days.
Calling a client in place of an email is not only a healthy way to maintain sanity while working from home, but it can be a lovely surprise for the client and a memorable way to connect with them and build a deeper relationship.
Never underestimate the power of speaking to people, especially clients.
Tip #9: Unplug
You should allow yourself the privilege to disconnect from your work in your off hours, even if you work from home.
Is your office in your living room like my first home office was? It felt like I was never away from my desk, especially when I could see it from my couch. Moving a home office into my guest room made a huge difference in my ability to turn on and off from work.
Self-care seems to be a recurring theme in these tips to stay sane when working from home. If you take one thing away from this post, remember to take great care of yourself. Don’t get swept away in the gauntlet of overwhelming tasks involved with entrepreneurship, freelancing and owning a small business. If you’re looking after yourself and maintaining your mental well-being while working from home, this effort will be transparent and come through in the quality of your work.
Do you have a favorite trick you use when working from home to help keep you sane? Please share your comments and advice below.
Two men in an office folding their arms