Written by Tom Ewer on 01 March 2015
Working from home can be awesome. It can also be a real drain though.
When you work from home it can feel liberating, or like you're imprisoned. But those feelings are changeable. A lot of it has to do with (1) perspective and (2) your environment.
If you currently work from home and are experiencing the latter, maybe it's time to shake things up a bit. Here are a few simple ways to make working from home more enjoyable.
1. Get Organized
Clutter can be overwhelming; especially when it comes to paper clutter. So take a few hours to clean up your home office and get rid of your clutter. Some people thrive in chaos and know where everything is at, but the rest of us get a boost from putting our space back in order.
Being disorganized can take up precious mental reserves that may be stunting your creativity. It can also negatively impact your desire to get down to business when you flip on your mental Open sign each day.
Collect all of those random post-it notes and throw away the ones that are no longer applicable. Collate the rest into a Google Doc or a simple paper file if you foresee needing to dig them out in the future.
There's nothing like a decor refresh for your home office to get you excited to come to work again. You don't have to break the bank refitting your work area, but it might be worth spending a few coins to get a new print to hang on the wall or a colourful rug to spice things up. Charity shop finds can be equally fun and cheap.
Choose a new lamp shade, wireless mouse or ergonomic desk chair if you have a few extra pennies to spend. Often it's the little things that make the biggest difference in brightening your space or mood. Don't be afraid to be creative; you can always change things around later!
3. Take Regular Breaks
Working at home can lead to holing up in your home office for hours on end. If you don't have regular breaks scheduled into your day, consider implementing some. Research suggests that most people can stay productive for about 90 minutes at a time. Start taking a five minute break every hour and a half and see how it affects your own productivity level.
Throw in a load of laundry, do the dishes or run the hoover quickly. There's nothing to say that you can't get in a few chores while taking a break from work. This is one of the perks of working from home after all. Plus, when your workday is over you'll have already gotten them done.
Grab a snack, glass of water or walk up and down your stairs a few times to get your heart pumping. Get up from your desk and do something other than surf the web. Trust me, it'll help you to refocus when you sit down to work again.
Since you don't work in an office environment anymore, it's easy to feel isolated when working from home. Make it a point to get regular intervals of socialisation. And no, social media doesn't really count.
Check in with your spouse or call a friend with the intention of asking to see how their day is going. Make a regular Skype date with a fellow work-from-homer. Take out your elderly neighbour's rubbish. Do whatever you need to do to get some face-time with another individual every once in awhile. We were made to be social beings; it's good for the soul.
5. Clock Out
When you're working from home, it's all too easy to work past the normal "quitting time" of your corporate office peers. For those of us that are self-employed, nine-to-five doesn't necessarily apply in the same way.
Some people use this to their benefit and work less than the "normal" 40-hour workweek. Others are dipping into workaholic territory and find themselves routinely putting in 60+ hours per week. Rarely does it seem that the self-employed keep to a set schedule.
Consider setting regular office hours and sticking to them. Make yourself be productive during the time allotted and clock out at a decent time each day. Then use your evening to fully engage with your family and/or take up a new hobby if you have the desire.
Working from home can be a drag at times, but it doesn't always have to be. If you're in a slump when it comes to your current home office, consider switching things up by getting organised or changing your decor.
Make sure you take regular breaks, socialise and keep yourself to a semi-regular schedule to prevent burnout. You have control over your environment; don't be afraid to make a few simple changes to ensure it is as enjoyable and productive a setting as possible.