Working from home has endless benefits that I’ve come to enjoy greatly over the last decade of being a freelance writer. But it definitely takes some adjustment. I spent years figuring out how to manage my time and create a healthy work/life balance.
If you’re newly working from home right now, you don’t have years to adjust. You’re your transition roll more smoothly with a few of the tips that I’ve learned along the way.
Top 10 Tips for Working From Home
#1. Don’t start your day in front of a screen. Spend (at least!) 10 minutes doing something you love before you dive into your inbox. Sip coffee on your patio, stare at your sleeping children, or cuddle with your dogs in front of the fire. Set a relaxed, positive tone for the day.
#2. Stretch well and often. Working from home usually means sitting for hours, which is a total killer for your body. Take the time to stretch every morning and afternoon, especially your shoulders, hamstrings, and back.
#3. Wear yoga pants 24/7 if you want to. Most work-from-home advice implores you to get ready as usual so that you feel professional. But wearing comfy pants and skipping make-up is one of my favorite parts of working from home! Figure out which amount of prep work makes you feel the best.
#4. Track your time. This is crucial to understand just how many hours you’re actually working. It also helps alleviate the imbalance that often happens when you blur the lines between your work life and life-life.
#5. Take entire days off. It’s tempting to split all your days between work and play, and maybe that will work for you. For me, doing this just makes me feel like I didn’t really get a day off – and that I didn’t really get much done at work, either. Spending entire days away from my computer helps me to distinguish between work and play.
#6. Create a fun work environment. What school supplies did you love when you were in 4th grade? Let your inner child guide you and create a workspace that feels fun. Brightly colored pens and markers, puppy pic folders, and pink glittery notebooks lift my spirits whenever I sit down at my desk. Your colleagues never have to know that you’re taking notes with a pom-pom pencil.
#7. Institute a hard stop on technology during break times. Don’t use your phone during lunchtime or for one hour after you stop working for the day. Your brain desperately needs time off the clock.
#8. Set boundaries with clients, colleagues, bosses, and housemates. No one will ever set your boundaries for you, and they’re absolutely essential for staying sane in a world where work life and home life take place in the same location. Teach your kids to knock and your roommates to respect your video conferencing time. Respond to emails on your schedule, not the moment they arrive. Let clients know that you won’t be available after 5 pm or on the weekends. Sounds crazy, right? But I’ve never lost a client or gig because I won’t do phone meetings at night. Respect yourself and the boundaries that you need, and others will respect you too.
#9. Indulge in a post-work ritual. This signals to your brain and body that you are done for the day and celebrates a job well done. Go for a walk, eat a snack, hop on the treadmill, or have something nice to drink.
#10. Understand that your mental and physical is far more important than any job, boss, or URGENT!!! email. Take breaks when you need them. When you feel stress rising up – stop, get up, and go do something else for five minutes. Give yourself the tender love and care that you would give a small child, and remember: You are the captain of this ship!
Raised in the Fort Worth area, Shilo Urban moved to Austin, Maine, Paris, Seattle, New Zealand, and Los Angeles before finding her way home a few years ago. Along the way, she has had over three dozen different jobs, including high school French teacher, record label manager, and farmhand for endangered livestock breeds. She’s traveled to more than 50 countries and always has the next trip planned. Shilo has been a freelance writer for over a decade and has published in Fort Worth Magazine, Fort Worth Weekly, and Afar. Her interests include lost civilizations, jalapeño peppers, and Game of Thrones. She is currently writing a thriller and lives in Fort Worth with the stars of this article, Steve and Lenny.