In addition to the fact that I can now proudly say that my dream job is my day job and vice versa, since becoming Managing Editor, my wish to work from home has been fully actualized in the process. With the rise in prominence of remote work, more and more of us are indulging in the inclusive ability to clock into our 9 to 5s while rocking our PJs and "bumming" it on the couch. It's a blessing I don't take lightly because I've worked through some crazy-long commutes, paid for lunches daily (which added up and caused me to gain the Office 20 in the process), and depending on where you work, investing in a wardrobe is a requirement that's no easy (or budget-friendly) feat.
However, while convenient AF and cost-effective as hell, working from home is not without its drawbacks. Although I don't struggle with productivity, in my work from home life, I do sometimes teeter the boundaries between work life and home life, as well as being faithful to a routine. But in the past year, I've gained some valuable insight and tips on how to rock this work from home life. Check them out below.
Establish Work/Home (Life) Boundaries
You know the workaholic who loves to work and, in that regards, puts their pleasure over matter? I'm totally that girl. I've always known I had the potential to be a workaholic, but I really became privy to my somewhat dangerous habit when I started working from home. That tendency of course lent itself to how I went about my day and often, that meant not allowing there to be clear boundaries between when I worked and when I lived because of how blurred those lines were.
I would wake up, unlock my phone, open my email app, and start work before I even brushed my teeth or washed my face. I'd feel obligated to work whenever I was near my laptop. I'd feel obligated to work whenever I got a text message or read a message while I was out for a couple of hours. That's not the way to live, sis. Since then, I've made it a point to draw clearer lines between Work Sheriden and Home Sheriden. Work Sheriden now only works when she considers herself ON. I "clock in" and I "clock out", and once I've clocked out, I don't have to feel like I'm in work mode just because my home is my office.
Create A Space You Love Working In
If you're going to set up shop in your home, you might as well make it an inviting space to be in. I don't have a traditional office sectioned off. Instead, I work from my couch. Sometimes, I offset the monotony with a seat at my desk in my bedroom, but let's face it, a couch is so much kinder to the body.
I like to set the mood with a bit of aromatherapy to help calm my senses by having soy candles burning. Lavender anything is a favorite of mine and has healing properties that include improving the mood, treating stress, migraines, and anxiety, as well as stimulating the brain. Music is another favorite of mine. My Feel Good playlist is such a vibe-setter and can definitely add some life into an otherwise quiet space. Podcasts and interviews are also great audio-stimulators that provide motivating ambience while I work.
Be Loyal To A Routine
A routine will be your best friend and your greatest ally when working from home. I don't have my day super detailed to the T, but there are some things that are mainstays – twice-a-week meetings and a once a week mandatory check-in call are examples of that. Additionally, there are tasks that stay the same throughout my week too. I've learned to do my best to adhere to a to-do list for the most part when it comes to tackling the day-to-day tasks and leaving room to give my energy to other things as they come up.
Perhaps even more important than that, was my commitment of keeping certain elements of my day the same and making sure to create a routine out of it:
6:30 a.m. – Wake up, wake up
6:30-7:30 a.m. – Relaxing in bed, sometimes doing nothing, sometimes reading, sometimes just catching up on a show or two that I like
7:30-8:30 a.m. – Brush my teeth, wash my face, shower, and make some breakfast
8:30 a.m. – I usually begin my workday around now, even though I prefer to wait until 9
8:30 a.m.-12 p.m. – Editing, uploading, writing, emails, meeting(s)
The remainder of my day follows that rhythm with the occasional hour break to eat and fit in a quick workout routine. My work day usually ends around 8, 10:00 at the latest. Having some sort of semblance of a routine allows me to understand my day in pieces versus being overwhelmed by anxiety of always being go, go, go and do, do, do.
Isolate Time For Meaningful Breaks
As you can see in the aforementioned tip, I really value my breaks. When I worked traditional desk jobs, I was accustomed to the obligatory 15- to 30-minute breaks companies allot their employees but I didn't realize how easy it would be to forget all about those necessary pauses when I was doing what I love full-time. For the first few months (read: six months), I forgot to pause.
I'd work 12- to 14-hour days, barely stopping for bathroom breaks but my daily water intake wouldn't let me. So, you can imagine that lack of care went double for making the time to eat. When I'm busy, it's very easy to forget to eat and a couple of hours can quickly turn to five without me even realizing it. But it is vital that you isolate time for breaks. Thus, nowadays, I try to have a minimum of three half-hour breaks each day.
Unplug. Chat with a friend. Take a walk. Read. Cook for yourself. Whatever you do, place your work day on a time out and do so as frequently as you need to.
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