Working from home can feel so good that you almost feel guilty that other people are stuck in an office while you’re answering emails from the comfort of your couch wearing nothing but sweatpants and a tank top you still haven’t decided is exclusively pajamas or something that’s acceptable to wear around other humans, OR it can feel like a jumbled mess - not knowing where work ends and downtime begins. When I left my corporate job to work for myself from home full-time, it was great! But then, I quickly realized nobody was regulating how I worked, when I worked, and for how long I worked - which for a recovering workaholic and perfectionist is quite a dangerous game. Below are some of the biggest tips that have helped me when it comes to making those lines a little less blurry, because nobody wants to feel like their life is one long day in the same outfit.
1. PIMP UP YOUR WORKSPACE
Make your workspace a place you actually enjoy being in. Nobody wants to brainstorm a new marketing campaign (or whatever it is you do for dollas) next to a basket of shoes and a rusty iron. I enjoy a very minimalistic workspace with only the essentials like my laptop and planner so I can hear myself think (clutter makes me nutttssss), plus a couple sexy little self-care items like a candle and some CBD oil to make me feel like I’m living a life of freakin’ luxury. You don't need a fancy office to feel excited about your workspace, I currently have a cute little desk in the corner of my bedroom that works great - and I've even used my kitchen table, bedroom dresser, and nightstand as desks in the past when the time has called for it (the cost of living in Los Angeles is such a joy).
2. TAKE REAL BREAKS
It’s so tempting to eat, watch TV, play with your dog, fold laundry, and respond to work emails all at once - or just skip breaks all together. Although working from home might feel more relaxing than suiting up and driving to a cubicle, it’s still work and you still need to carve out time to walk away from it. So take that hour lunch, take breaks in between tasks to stretch or walk or watch an episode of 90 Day Fiance.’ You do you.
When you’re crushin’ that laptop lifestyle, it’s very easy to go days without seeing or talking to...anyone. And if you’re a solopreneur, you don’t even have coworkers to watch cat videos with every 30 minutes or so. This means we (especially us introverts) need to make an extra effort to stay connected with the outside world. The daily rule I’ve given myself is I must, at the very least, text, call or see one person who does not live with me (I live with my dog and my hubs-to-be), or else I will very likely become a recluse.
4. GO OUTSIDE
Remember the whole “take real breaks” thing I mentioned? Well, I recommend at least one of those breaks be outside. Nobody feels their best when they’ve developed a case of the cabin fever, so be sure you’re getting some fresh air, Vitamin D, and taking a moment to watch a squirrel climb a f*ckin’ tree once in a while. It’s good for your soul and key to preventing a total meltdown.
5. GET READY
I fought this one so hard the first year of being a full-time entrepreneur, but getting yourself out of your pajamas and into something less like pajamas can make a big difference with how you feel during your “work hours.” I noticed that I felt less sluggish and more motivated when I simply changed out of the horror show that is my bedtime attire to leggings or yoga pants and a shirt that actually fits me. You don’t have to do full on glam makeup and wear pencil skirts (unless you want to then hell yes I celebrate you) to experience the benefit of “getting ready” for work - even just brushing your teeth and putting some chapstick on can make you feel like you have your sh*t together. When work is over? You bet your sweet tush I’m climbing back into my pjs to signal to my brain that it’s time to melt into my couch and enjoy my life.
6. SET BOUNDARIES
In order to stay productive during work hours and maintain the rest of my life during off hours, I’ve needed to have some serious boundaries in place. Sticking to a schedule, setting time limits on certain tasks, and putting my work away at the end of the day have been game changers for me. I try my best to not work before 9am or after 5:30pm and I take real breaks throughout the day. I'm not perfect with this and my schedule changes often, but it’s nice to feel like I know when to clock in and out vs. walking around perpetually dazed. I also give myself time restrictions on chores. I’m someone who genuinely enjoys taking care of my home - cleaning, organizing, folding laundry - everything but cooking is my jam (cooking will be my nemesis until the end of days). I am tempted EVERY DAY to do tasks around my apartment instead of work-related tasks that actually pay my bills. So, I set a time limit of 15 minutes for chore-like activities (I consider these breaks from work by the way), and I save more time-consuming chores for evenings and weekends so they don’t derail my entire day. And finally, the “out of sight out of mind” idiom really resonates with me, so when I “clock out” I basically hide my work from myself so I’m not tempted to touch it during downtime. So, close the planner, put your laptop in a drawer, light your documents on fire - do whatever you have to do to SHUT. IT. DOWN.
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