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For some, working from home is the dream. You can forget the hellish daily commute, wear whatever’s comfortable and have the freedom to work from wherever you like, but actually, it’s far more difficult than you might think. Working from home presents its own problems like having to avoid the temptations of everyday life such as the draw of your bed calling you for a mid-afternoon nap (the struggle is real!) and the chance to live in near complete isolation (after work drinks, anyone?). So how do you create the harmonious work/life balance that you crave?
You need to find the perfect mix of enjoying the freedom to work in your most comfortable surroundings but also stay productive. Here are some of the most effective solutions to the most common work-from-home issues:
Perfect your time management
The number one reason most people find working from home difficult is that time feels almost endless, but then you get to 5pm on a Friday and instead of heading out the door to kick off your weekend, you’re sitting at your desk wondering where your week vanished to, and have only got a weekend working session to look forward to. To not fall into this soul-crushing habit, make yourself a proper work week schedule. Set out your day just like you would working from an office. Plan your lunch break (and actually take it) and make sure you don’t get up for too many coffee breaks either. Another issue you may come across is others expecting you to be free because you are at home. A lot of people see working at home as you being able to get a little bit of work done then having all the time in the world to prance about, so you’ll have to be firm and say no to any offers to go out and about, rather than getting your work done. If you do want to get out (which is fine on your breaks) make sure they know it is only for a short time and that you have to get back to work in an hour or so.
Watch your health
Make sure you pay attention to your health when you work from home. It can be tempting to push yourself a harder or work until later than you normally would, but eventually, this can catch up with you and cause you to burn out. It’s really important that you take time off work, just like you would with a traditional office job so that you give yourself time to rest away from work. You need to have the mental clarity to perform at your best and when things get foggy or you start to feel bogged down by work it’s a sign to change and take a holiday!
Hit the ground running
When it comes to starting your day you’re going to have to forget the idea that working from home means you can quite literally roll out of bed and fire up the laptop without having to do much in-between. A real driver in staying productive is how your morning routine plays out, and if it’s sluggish, ill-planned and not well managed, well, the rest of the day isn’t likely to get any better. A great way to ease into work is to get yourself up and dressed and jump straight into your emails. This is particularly useful if you work remotely and across different time-zones, as you are sure to find messages that need replying to that have come in whilst you were away. After you’ve replied or followed up to anything urgent, get your head down to the serious work without getting up – don’t let yourself take too many small breaks as it’ll destroy your concentration.