working from home, virtual, remote

How to stay sane while working from home

Even for those who normally work from home, things just feel different at the moment. While the structure of each working day hasn’t changed, there’s a notable change in the atmosphere around the world – for obvious reasons.

So, one can only imagine what it’s like for people who normally go to an office each day.

Working from home can be a great opportunity to be productive, but for some it poses a potential dangerous trap into lazy habits. To stay sane, here’s how you can make the most of it.

Don’t change your morning routine 

It can be oh-so-tempting to sleep in until 8:55 a.m., and then switching on your laptop to pretend that you’re working.

Please, for your own sake, do not do this.

Think about what kind of signal this sends to your brain. You’re not a college slob who rolls 30 minutes late into the only 9 a.m. lecture they’ll attend all semester anymore.

Keep your normal morning routine as much as possible. Walk to your regular bus stop or train station, even if you’re not catching public transport. Wake up at the same time and use that extra time to prepare yourself for the day. You might even find that a slower-paced morning sets you up for a more productive day.

Consistency breeds success, when the habits are good. If they’re not, then you’ll find yourself going backwards fast.

Get changed 

Again. Mindset. Sitting around in your pyjamas will very quickly lead to you putting your laptop to one side, grabbing a container of Ben & Jerry’s and opening the Netflix app. And no matter how good that sounds right now, you’ll be kicking yourself when that to-do list piles up.

Fine, you don’t need to put on a suit. But at the very least, have a shower and change into some normal clothes. Remember, you’re still working – you’re just doing it from home. Hence why it’s called ‘working from home’.

Look at the positives 

If you live somewhere like London, think about how you don’t have to commute for two hours every day. Even better? You don’t have to commute on slow, unreliable, expensive public transport with hundreds of strangers invading your personal space. Also – no more office politics that you actively seek to avoid anyway!

Maybe you’re a parent and have been trying to spend more time with your children. Well, now you have that chance. It’s probable that their school is closed, so get your work done in the morning and dedicate the afternoon to them.

You’ll likely find that you’ve got more time on your hands than you did before. Use that to do the things you’ve put off because you “don’t have the time” for them. It doesn’t matter if that’s dedicating time to exercise in the morning, start a side-hustle or learn a second language. Just do it.

Do not shut yourself off from the world

Anybody who has worked remotely for an extended period will know that it can be lonely sometimes. But even if you’re working alone, you don’t need to be alone.

Call your friend or parents, or invite a neighbour around for coffee (as long as they’re healthy). We’re social creatures by nature and the last thing you want to do is cause a detriment to your mental health by not speaking to anybody.

If you’re able to, get out of the house too. Even if it’s for a 20-minute walk. Unless you absolutely have to stay indoors, doing so 24/7 is going to drive you up the wall within a couple of days maximum.

Final thoughts 

Some people thrive when working from home, whereas others need to be in an office. There are positives and negatives, just like with everything else. You just need to utilise the pros as much as possible.

Working from home means neither ‘an extended vacation’, nor ‘serving a prison sentence’. Keep your routine as normal as possible.

Treat your work as if it’s work, eat lunch away from your desk and take frequent breaks. If you want to have the TV on in the background, go ahead – as long as you’re not being distracted. Set clear boundaries and you’ll continue to be productive.

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