The way people are working is changing. According to Telework Research Network, a whopping 63 percent of Americans will be working from home within the next five years.
As someone who spends a lot of my time working from the comforts of my home, I’ve learned a few tools over the course of the past three and a half years that have helped make my work life a productive, healthy one.
Here are my top 8 strategies.
1. Enjoy the mornings. I’ve been a morning person all my life (I’ve talked about it before here), and while sitting in front of my computer immediately after waking up seemed to be worthwhile at the beginning phase of Nourish, the habit grew old pretty fast. I’ve sinced embraced the “morning walk” habit and ever since doing so, I’m more focused, calm, and content when I do sit in front of my computer. Even if you’re not a morning person, getting into the habit of enjoying the mornings – even if its just for 20 minutes prior to starting work, can set a really positive tone for the rest of the day.
2. Get dressed. When I first started working from home, nothing made me happier than yoga pants, an oversized sweater, and a messy ponytail. As much as my love of yoga pants is pretty unwavering, I’ve found that getting dressed just a little bit nicer (for some, it could mean just getting out of your pajama pants), will do wonders to your morale.
3. Stock your kitchen with healthy ingredients. If you stock your kitchen with donuts and soda, you’ll probably eat or drink them. And if you stock your kitchen with pre-cut veggies, fruit, and tea you’ll be more likely to eat or drink those, too. Working from home does lower the barrier on some parameters set around food (hello, never ending lunchbreak!), so do yourself a big favor and set yourself up for healthy eating success. This leads me to the next one.
4. Take a lunch break. Grabbing leftovers and sitting in front of your computer at home is no different than doing the same thing at your typical office. Give your mind a break and your food the attention it deserves by scheduling a lunch break for yourself each and everyday. Taking scheduled breaks for nourishment will also help you prevent a case of the mindless-munchies.
5. Hydrate. I’m pretty weirdly passionate about making sure people are properly hydrated. So, don’t let two, three, or four hours go by without taking a sip of some water. Sip on unsweetened iced tea, carbonated water, or hot tea for a delightful break from plain ol’ H20.
6. Find a separate space. Whether it’s a small desk in the corner of your living room, your dinning room table, or your own office (if you have the space), treat your bedroom like a bedroom. Since your sleep is so important, anything that can disturb it –such as associating work with your bed – isn’t a great habit to get into. And since I’m also weirdly passionate about sleep, trust me on this one too.
7. Set parameters on work time. My hardest lesson to learn (and I’m still working on it) is the importance in taking hours and even days (gasp!) off of work. Yes, it can be tricky when you love what you do, but it is so important to give your mind and body a break. Schedule an eight hour work day, schedule days off, and do your very best to commit to it.
8. Unplug. At the end of your workday, close your computer, turn off your phone, logout of Twitter, and do something that makes you happy. It could mean going to the gym, making a wholesome meal for dinner, spending time with your family, or taking a break to meditate. If you’re able to be kind to yourself at the end of the workday, you’ll be more motivated to give work your best effort again tomorrow.