So many people believe that working from home is the greatest, easiest thing in the world to do. Frankie and I sit around all day on the couch. We turn on the television, put on a favorite show, call each other up on our pink princess phones, eat bon bons and talk about whatever we feel like.
If that’s what actually happened, we’d probably be a lot less stressed, and a lot more plump! Working from home can be extremely difficult, trying and exhausting. You’re there all the time. Most of the time alone. And you can only talk to the family pet so much before he runs off and hides.
Here are five ways to stay sane when you work from home.
Honestly, sometimes I stop for a moment and think, I haven’t left the house in two days! You have to get out of the house. When you work in an office, you leave. You go to lunch. You run errands. You go into other rooms in the building. You do not stay trapped in one little area for nine hours. You have to do the same thing when working from home. Frankie goes for walks every morning. I work from Starbucks on Wednesdays. Make it a point to get out and remember that the rest of the world is still out there.
Talk to People
Sometimes you’re lucky enough to have a work from home job that has you interacting with people every day. But sometimes, not. For Your Gal Friday, I have only one client that I speak with regularly. There are some clients I’ve never actually had a conversation with. Only email.
Pick up the phone and talk to other people each day. You need that personal interaction. You need to be able to have regular, adult conversations. And they shouldn’t all be about work. Call up a family member to see what’s going on. Attend a free presentation somewhere and talk with other people about travel, education, your town. Anything. Just keep that interaction level up.
It is so easy to find yourself stuck in one spot. You look at the clock - it’s 9am. You look again and it’s 12:30pm. Force yourself to move. I like to schedule my day so that I take a break from work and climb some stairs to do some light cleaning. Or stroll to the mailbox. Or even just do some step walking while I watch a little TV. If you can’t remember to move, set an alarm on your phone to ring every 30 minutes. Anything to keep you moving.
This may not seem like a very productive work from home tip, but everyone needs some goof off time. Put the work away and have some fun. I love playing games on my iPad. Maybe you like to play a musical instrument. Or maybe you like to hop on your bike and ride around the neighborhood looking at garage sales. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as it’s not work. Don’t do dishes. Don’t do laundry. Don’t just “get this one thing done.” Goof off. Take a nap! Anything to reset your brain and make you feel refreshed.
Get Some Sunshine
Sometimes just sitting in the sun for a few minutes will refresh your whole day. I like to occasionally take my laptop out to the back porch and work there. I get sunshine, birds chirping, squirrels and chipmunks running about, and the occasional groundhog strolling through. Even when I worked in an office I’d find a place to sit in the sun for a bit (especially when working in buildings where you had no windows).
So don’t go crazy. Go play in the sunshine. Relax. Have fun. Chat with people. It’ll make working from home each day a great experience.
Let's face it, I think every one of us at some time in our lives have said, "There just aren't enough hours in the day for everything I need to get done." But, is that really true? Are there minutes, or even hours in the day that you could be using to get stuff done, but you're just not taking advantage of those times. I know for me (Frankie) that has been the real problem.
I've always gotten up between 5 and 5:30 am. I usually don't go for my walk until around 6:30 am, just as the sun is starting to come up, so I was left with an hour to an hour and a half of "free" time. What I was doing with that time was getting on Facebook, checking my emails, messing around on Google; in other words, wasting my time.
About a month ago I started getting up and taking that hour to an hour and a half to clean the kitchen, throw in a load of laundry, or write a blog or Facebook post for Coffee Talk Consulting. I started noticing that I was finishing my work earlier in the day. This was nice. I was getting to the end of my workday and instead of scrambling to get the kitchen cleaned before I started dinner or getting a blog or Facebook post written for CTC the next day, I was able to quit work early, have everything done, be ahead on some of my work, and be left with some real "free" time to relax and do whatever I wanted without feeling guilty or messing up my workday.
Look around in your day. Is there 30 minutes, maybe an hour somewhere in there that you could use to do something productive? Maybe that thing you just haven't been able to get done, you can get done if you take those few minutes of "free" time and get off Facebook and do it. If you're like me you're probably never going to get everything done that you feel you need to each day, but if you look for those wasted minutes in each day and make a choice to use them wisely, I bet you'll get things done that have been on your to-do list for forever.
I (Andrea), tend to get struck down by disappointment. Some people are affected by anger. Some by disgust or hate. Me, it's disappointment. What I mean is, when all sorts of things hit the fan, I can stand pretty strong. But when I'm disappointed, by the actions or inactions of others, for example, I am knocked down. I am broken. I will curl up in a mental ball and feel sad, left out, and wonder why nobody likes me.
And that's okay to do - for about three minutes. Give yourself that bit of sulk time. And then get out a pen and paper and write down the positives in your life. For every bit of disappointment, there are at least three bits of positive energy that exist. At least. And this goes for every aspect of your life. Sometimes you have to remind yourself of that. Feel fortunate and happy for the things you do have, and for the wonderful things that you are, and for the great things that you get to do. It's those things that keep us going. #BePositive #YouAreWorthIt
I (Frankie) know without a doubt that you have been asking yourself that question every Tuesday. I know you're asking yourself this every Tuesday because Tuesdays are when we do our #HealthMatters posts. Sometimes we forget that just because we know what we're doing, that doesn't necessarily mean it's clear to anyone else. so, I thought since we just dove into this without warning, I'd take this Tuesday to give you an explanation.
Are you ready? We talk about healthy eating and fitness because it's important! I know you know it's important, but we think it's even more important when you work from home. When you work from home you can get a little lazy. I know I did. There have been days when I never got out of my PJs, never even went outside to do so much as walk to the mailbox. That’s bad. That's really bad.
When you work from home it's also very easy to get in the habit of eating whatever is easiest to grab. If that's a bag of chips and a coke for lunch, then that's what you have. You may even start to skip breakfast. Before you know it you've packed on 10 pounds and can't fit into your jeans, that is if you ever decided to get out of your PJs long enough to put your jeans on. That's bad too; really bad.
When you work from home you have to work a little harder at eating healthy and exercising than you do when you work outside the home. You have to plan your meals and not keep junk in the house. Maybe prep a few healthy breakfast and lunch meals and have them in the fridge so you can just grab and eat. Make time, 30 minutes will work, and do some type of exercise. Maybe you go for a walk or do a workout video or just dance around the house for 30 minutes, but do something. Put on some clothes besides the ones you slept in last night. That one simple thing helps me be more active.
The point is we talk about healthy eating and fitness because it's important. And, it may be even more important for those of us that work from home because it's so easy to get into bad habits when no one is around to see it. So eat right, get moving and always remember…#HealthMatters.
I (Andrea) like honesty. Then again, who doesn’t? I love it when people are honest. Not mean, nasty, brutally honest. Just honest. In college, I took English and Art classes. My whole day was about creation and critique. It’s not for everyone. You cannot have a thin skin and be in a creative niche.
Being honest was a struggle for most of my fellow students. In photography class, we’d develop our photos and then pin them to this huge wall. Then we’d sit back and critique each other. My professor probably wanted to have a stroke, because no one could ever say anything bad. Eventually he banned everyone from starting a critique with “I like it.” They weren’t all masterpieces. It was so frustrating that eventually I went up to him after a class and asked, Can you please give me an honest critique about my photos? He told me that they weren’t very creative. They were boring. There wasn’t anything visually interesting about them.
Many people would have become enraged. (In fact, I did see plenty of people get mad after critiques in classes.) I thanked him. I was happy. Because now that my problems were identified, I could go about fixing them. That’s the whole point of the critique!
Forward ahead several years. I’ve graduated and have found a job working for an insurance company. It was a decent job. Not spectacular, but good enough and I was learning a lot. I adored my department. It was like having a second family.
There were plenty of struggles within the company, though, and one day my boss, a VP, had had enough. He quit and took a job halfway across the country. We were pretty overwhelmed by it. His replacement was someone from a different department. He was okay. We all knew him, and although we may not have been best pals, we figured we could work with him.
He brought us into his office one by one, and let us know that this wasn’t going to be an easy transition. He knew there were struggles, and he wanted us to be honest about what the problems were so that he could fix them. Great! He was going to listen to us! So I explained to him the things we had problems with. What was going wrong. How we felt (at least from my perspective) things should be. I left his office feeling pretty positive.
A few days later I was called into HR and was told I no longer had a job. Completely out of the blue. She tried to tell me it was because I was late too many times (as a salaried employee, working all the time). My department was shocked as I walked through the cubes, angry, hurt, telling each one of them goodbye.
I knew what it was. I had been too honest. When someone asked me what the problem was, I told the truth. But it wasn’t the truth that he wanted to hear.
There is a fine line for most people when they are asking you a question. You want to answer with honesty, but you have to edit yourself. You have to decide what it is that they’re really asking you. What are they really trying to find out? My new boss wasn’t looking for what the problems were. He was looking for who they were, because it’s easier to get rid of people than to solve the problem.
Always be honest when dealing with clients, friends, family. But understand where that honesty could lead you in your relationships, and make sure you know exactly what you’re being asked before you answer.
Frankie and Andrea take turns sharing stories. Just good talk over a cup of coffee.