43% of the US workforce works remotely, thats 63 million people according to Forrester Research! Many believe home offices make us healthier, are easier, and offer less stressful living, but it also comes along with its own challenges. From potential to stay in your pajamas, snack from the fridge all day, to the lack of human interaction and distractions from your pets, kids or friends, “home work” needs discipline to keep us mentally and physically healthy and productive. So here are some tips I’ve learned after much experience:
Shower, dress and make sure your apperance is acceptable if you have to suddenly pop out for a meeting. Research has shown the influence of clothing truly does tell our minds if we are going to be productive, work out, dance, travel, or sleep. Also most everyone judges people by their appearance, even you. You will feel better if you look your best, and make sure you have a designated area used only for working. When you arrive to this area, even if its just a small desk in your bedroom, your brain needs to know its focus time. Being in clothing you’d wear to a meeting in an office will help trigger your mind and set you on the best path for the day. Plus, if someone really does call to meet in a short time frame, you’ll be stress free on your way looking and feeling great.
Habits breed health, some of the most successful people will share they sleep, eat, exercise and socialize on the same routine timeline. Often I say my goal is to be as happy as a really well cared for dog, sound crazy? Not really at all, dogs do the same things every day at the same time. Like pups and babies, having a schedule can make you happiest, most productive and at optimal peace. As tempting as it is to just do whater you want whenever you want, especially because you’re at home, you have to train your mind to stick to the routine. This means ending your “work” day at a certain time too and not just consuming yourself with working 24/7 at the house, in bed, while your kids play, or while your partner is on the phone, really give yourself time for yourself and those you love, and know when to shut it down. Also, schedule your workouts too, pencil in time that is maybe off hours to others so you can take advantage of your flexibility, but maximize results too. It is certainly okay to work out during lunch hours and eat earlier or later, or whatever is best for you and your career, personal life and health. I’ve found as I get older scheduling meetings that are more active is really a huge help too: a walk, or even a hike while chatting with a friend or colleague can be double productive and feel really good for everyone. And if you’re in Los Angeles, or anywhere with nice weather year round, its great to take the sunshine’s vitamin D in as often as possible anyway.
Staying home means you have free rein over your surroundings, so make your work area soothing and keep your stress level under control. If you love scented candles, place them around your desk. If a beautiful view helps you stay calm, set up your desk in front of a window or within eyesight of lovely artwork you enjoy. Whatever you do, as I said before, make sure you set a area aside for working only and do not use that area if you’re not working. Of course make sure whatever supplies you need are easy to reach as well, and that you have a comfortable chair, enough space and keep it tidy as organization leads to success.
Tracking everything is not always fun but usually thats because we scramble to remember instead of doing it as we go. If you can note your hours, and work within the schedule you created, you’re not only hold yourself accountable, you will understand how much time you need. You will also make sure to give yourself free time, and family time. Its easy to under perform or over perform when you’re not keeping tabs on yourself, and the best way to determine your fees to clients are by how long things take you to do, which you won’t ever know if you don’t track it! This is also mandatory for tax purposes, if you have ever been a W2 employee its a cake walk when tax season comes along compared to being independent, but being on your own yeilds amazing tax breaks and write offs! This is only possible with documentation though, its a mandate from the IRS and includes tracking driving, entertainment or meals with clients, travel, office expenses, staff, bills, you must report it all if you do itemized taxing. The perks are awesome and easy if you do it right in advance.
Ever eat when you’re bored? Or just because you know you have something yummy in the fridge? This is a really easy way to distract yourself, gain weight, or even get sick. So why not make it impossible for it to be unhealthy? Keep fresh veggies, fruits and whole food snacks in the kitchen and remove any junk foods. Period.
With the absence of coworkers its more important than ever to keep your social connections, and I do not mean social media that does not count! Spending time with friends improves your overall well-being and helps you stay motivated in many ways, including putting on some clothing other than your pajamas. Offering advice, support and help to people you care for can also quickly fix a heavy day and make you feel good.
Originally published at medium.com