A Remote Working Survival Guide.
It’s the best of work, it’s the worst of work. Honestly, it’s probably something in the middle.
Working from home (or being forced to work from home) is a complicated blend of great perks and horrible distractions. It’s something people either love or hate, or just generally find to be a weird mixture of the two.
If you feel that working from home is a big adjustment, you’re not alone. A whole lot of people find working from home difficult, but over 80% would actually prefer it over a regular desk job. Flexibility in your life is awesome, but it’s not so awesome when it gets in the way of your real life, or vice versa.
Thankfully, there are ways to keep your head on straight, even when the dog’s barking to be fed, the kids are fighting in the next room, and those chocolate chip cookies next to the fridge are calling your name.
Let’s take a not-so-dangerous journey to remote work Valhalla for employees at the end of their ropes. Read on and learn how to safely keep your work and personal lives separate while working from home.
Anti Life-Sabotaging Tactics For Remote Workers
There are literally a billion different things remote employees can do to keep themselves sane (seriously, ask Google), but they all really boil down to a tidy list of five unique points.
1 — Work AT Home, Not FROM
2 — Let Yourself Take Breaks
3 — Turn Off Your Phone. Now.
4 — Activate A Game Plan
5 — Try Out Some Meditation
1. Work AT Home, Not FROM
The first thing you’ll realize about working from home is that your house suddenly won’t look all that homey anymore.
The kitchen table turns into a portable cubicle. The living room? Conference call HQ. Once you start asking your friends to punch their timecards before they leave, you’ll know it’s gone too far. Where does the line between your personal life and professional workday start?
It’s not easy to separate your home from your work — however, setting a few boundaries now will help you find that sweet spot of pure harmonic balance later. Follow these 3 pro-tips:
- If there’s a dedicated room in the house you can overhaul into an office, rejoice! Keep the door shut while working, and shut the door behind you when you leave for the day. Even just a little physical separation will help you cement the subconscious division between the two. Remember, absence makes the heart grow fonder!
- Not everyone can set aside their own space for remote work, and that’s okay! At the end of the day, it’s all about mental separation. Set a schedule so your brain knows when it’s time to work, and when it’s time to play, even if it’s all in the same space. Get those boundaries going!
- Don’t bring your work into areas of the home you use chiefly for relaxation, not for any reason! Beds are places you sleep, not offices where you submit daily progress reports. The less you taint your home with work, the more like home it’ll feel.
To Recap: Dorothy was right, there really is no place like home. Now put some boundaries in place to keep it that way!
2. Let Yourself Take Breaks
If you’re a workaholic now, you’re probably going to be a workaholic from home.
It can feel weird to leave your screen to take a break, but the truth is that most employers specifically build breaks into your schedule already. Remote workers definitely need to take time to breathe, and absolutely must find time to eat. Work is work! You deserve a break.
Researchers have found that unplugging for even five minutes will help employees improve performance, creativity, and focus. Even fifteen minutes of exercise or brisk walking will boost your productivity — what we’re saying is taking leaps and bounds can improve your productivity by leaps and bounds, which is pretty cool.
3. Turn Off Your Phone. Now.
Even if you’re not actually standing in an office, procrastinating on your phone isn’t going to make that Excel sheet fill itself. Just power down, put it in the other room, or set your notifications to silent. It won’t kill you, pinky promise. When you go on breaks, lunches, or clock out for the day, you can open as many tabs as you want. And you’ll probably feel a little better about it, too.
4. Activate A Game Plan
Your day probably starts with the sounding of an alarm clock, but there may also be something else at play: the to-do list.
Having a daily, weekly, even monthly list of tasks is incredibly important, and has been for the past couple thousand years. The flexibility of remote work helps to build a routine that works best for you, and apply some much-needed direction to your day. One of the easiest ways to sabotage your life while working from home is not making a game plan. Don’t fall into the trap!
Manually writing down your to-do list might feel a little archaic, but coupled with a reusable notebook and scanning app, you’ll be an unstoppable force of productivity.
Efficiency and sustainability? Check. Great sports metaphor? Also check.
5. Try Out Some Meditation
Meditation is probably one of the last things you thought would be on this list (technically you’re right because it is the last thing on this list).
Before skipping ahead, know that this won’t require you to hum or stretch into uncomfortable pretzel positions. However, it will require you to evaluate your stress levels, anchor in the moment, and will probably result in lowering your blood pressure.
Even if you’ve always thought meditation was a little bogus, you might be surprised just how much mindfulness can impact your day. A little conscious reflection will go a long way.
The Survival Guide Recap
Whether you’re working from home by choice or necessity, you’ll need to find a way to stay sane. To keep being productive (and keep your sanity), you’ll need to treat your office life and your personal life with some good old-fashioned breathing space. Take some breaks, have some fun, maybe even meditate once in a while. If that’s not enough, take distraction (that’s your phone) out of the room. Most importantly, establish clear boundaries about what you do, when you do it, and where you plan on doing it. This means writing up a survival guide of your very own.