There’s no doubt that working from home can be a double-edged sword. While it certainly comes with benefits, there are some traps everyone can get caught in that cause additional stress and lead to burnout. In this article, you can find a list of 5 methods that are bound to help you avoid these traps and keep your stress levels low while successfully tackling your daily tasks.
Pretend you’re actually going to the office
You may consider not being obliged to get ready as no one will see you as one of the advantages of working from home. However, this can be very counterproductive. By working in your pajamas on your couch, or worse – bed, you are blurring the lines between relax-time and work-time. Thus, it’s crucial to choose a work-only area in your living space. That way, your brain will associate that area exclusively with work, allowing you to be more productive.
If possible, try avoiding working in your bedroom, because otherwise, you may find yourself unable to stop thinking about work as you attempt to sleep. On that note, another way to trick your brain and get it into focus mode is not to skip your usual getting ready routine. This pertains to things like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and getting dressed.
Stick to your usual work hours
Working from morning till night is an easy trap to fall into when you start working from home, especially if you’re not used to it. Whether this happens because you’re procrastinating or doing more work than necessary, having a consistent work schedule is key to avoiding burnout. That way, you can separate your personal life and work life, at least to a degree, leaving you with more free time. At times, you may need to break this rule, but avoid pulling all-nighters at all costs no matter what you do. Getting enough sleep is essential, even if you feel fine for the time being. In the long run, sleep deprivation will hinder your ability to concentrate, thus affecting your job performance.
Build a focus routine that works for you
When your home plays the role of your office, it’s effortless to get distracted. You are surrounded by temptations that fuel procrastination. In a matter of minutes, you may find yourself reaching for the TV remote to quickly check what’s new on Netflix – which threatens to turn into an extremely long binge session. To combat these distractions, clean out your workspace by leaving only the items necessary for your work. If you find your home to be too quiet, you can turn on some focus music or ASMR.
Since you don’t have to spend any time getting to your office, waking up later and starting your work immediately can sound like a reasonable idea. However, a better option would be to wake up at the same time you would if you were commuting to work. The time saved leaves you a little bit of space to relax before your workday starts. You could do numerous activities that will prepare you for a productive day, such as taking a quick walk, doing yoga, or meditating.
If you end up feeling overwhelmed once you’ve finished your work, you can try out some stress-relieving activities or, provided it’s legal in your state, use up your vape cartridge before it goes bad. Another stress-inducing factor is that working remotely is inherently isolating for the most part. For that reason, it’s vital to get in touch with other people, such as your friends, family, and coworkers, during your breaks and after work hours.
Carefully balance out your focus-time with your break-time
No matter how much work you have, taking breaks is essential. If you work for hours on end without strategically-placed short breaks, you are wasting more time than you might imagine. Staying fully concentrated for long periods of time is practically impossible. Even if you manage not to get distracted, your efficiency will gradually decrease.
On the other hand, sometimes you may find yourself overextending your breaks, resulting in you falling behind on your deadlines. Thus, dividing your tasks into chunks and timing your work-time and breaks is bound to increase your productivity. If you’re unsure what time-to-break ratio would be optimal, you could try the 25/5 or 50/10 Pomodoro technique. This method involves working in intervals of 25 or 50 minutes, while taking 5 or 10-minute breaks in between, respectively.
As you’ve probably concluded yourself, the common theme in all of these tips is establishing the boundaries between working from home and staying at home. That’s because, if not careful, you may find yourself constantly home-bound with no leisure time, which inevitably leads to stress build-up. Therefore, stay focused during your work hours and make sure your time outside work is well spent.