To most people, working from home on your own schedule sounds like the dream job. And it is – sort of. You get the freedom to do what you want and set your own hours and prioritize things according to your own needs, but you also spend a lot of time alone. The freedom is amazing, but spending all that time on your own gets really lonely after a while, and it’s easy to feel like a bum sitting around home all day. So how do you find a balance between working at home and still feeling like a real business person out in the world? Here are a few tips (a few that I need to start following myself) on how to feel connected when working from home.
Have a Morning Routine
When you work from home it’s easy to fall into a routine of just waking up whenever you wake up, and then rolling straight from bed into your desk chair. This is convenient some days when you’ve been up late or aren’t feeling great, but for the average day it’s not good.
Instead establish a daily routine, just like you would if you had to go to work. Wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and then settle into your work day at the same time every morning.
The appeal of staying in comfy clothes all day when you work from home is huge, and it’s one I know all too well. But, if you get dressed and look office ready, then you’ll feel better to. On an unconscious level it will do wonders for your productivity (plus you won’t have to hide anymore when the mailman knocks on the door).
Get Out of the House
One of the benefits of working from home is that you work from home. Your commute is however many minutes it takes you to walk from your bed to your desk. Though this is great most of the time, it can also lead to a whole lot of monotony.
Instead, do what you can to get out of the house every once in a while. Go get a coffee in the morning, work at a local cafe, meet up with another entrepreneurial friend to cowork, find a shared office space, or even just go for a walk. Though it’s a pain to get up and go, once you do you’ll feel better and be twice as productive.
When you’re working from a desk that also doubles as a table, and you eat your lunch in the same place that you type out your emails, it’s easy for the whole day to flow together into one big blob of work.
Instead, make sure there are clear breaks in your schedule. When it’s time to eat lunch put away your work and sit somewhere else. Turn on a TV program you enjoy, or browse social media – whatever makes you feel the most relaxed, and like you’re on an actual break. It’s exactly what you need to refresh and get ready for the rest of the work day.
Scheduling time into your schedule for personal development is a great way to break up the work day and feel even more connected to the outside world. Make time every day to listen to a podcast, flip through some book pages, or read an article that you’ve bookmarked. Keeping your brain working on something other than your work will let it refuel.
Set an End Time
Just like if you were working at an office, the end of the work day is the end of the work day. Sure sometimes people have over time they have to do, or work they take home that just has to get done that night, but most of the time 9-5 means 9-5. Your hours should cut off in the same way. Whether you’re working 10-4 or 8-1, the end of your work day is the end. Put away your files, write out your to do list for tomorrow, and relax.