Working from home is both glorious and extremely challenging. Our dining room table has been a makeshift desk for years. Although much of the work done here is outside, we still have full-time work to do in the home office. Like any business, we have to keep the books, place orders, manage emails and submit proposals and we're challenged by the temptations of a day at home.
We certainly don't have the balance down to a perfect science but we do have so helpful strategies that we try to use. They help us keep sane and hold boundaries with work and home life. Here are 5 helpful strategies for working from home to stay healthy and well-fed.
1) Silence your phone for at least an hour every day. I know, there are a million reasons why this won't work. But honestly, that's likely the addiction of your phone speaking. This one is hard but it's so empowering. With so many people working from the home office (aka your dining room table) there's a lot more chatting happening via text. Let's be real... there's no co-workers or boss in the room, so why not just text with your best friend for 20 minutes. Or respond to the funny video in the group thread. It's also undeniable that we are spending more time scrolling our feeds than ever. So... take it from someone who has been trying to win the battle for years... silence it for just one hour of serious focus time. It's amazing what gets done.
2) Put away your phone and computer during lunch. Take lunch seriously. You have access to your full, well-stocked kitchen. Take advantage of this by stepping away from the texts and emails and especially the news and feed your body while you rest your brain. This gives your eyes and thumbs a break and helps keep you more motivated for the afternoon. Trust me, it's crucial!
3) Make dinner at lunch. Give yourself a full hour for your lunch break. Why not? Take the time to make yourself a real meal for lunch and have several glasses of water. The other trick to this luxury of working from home is that you can get a head start on dinner. Sometimes for us that means just taking something out to thaw. But other times I battle the post-lunch full belly slump with getting up and working on dinner prep. Today, I made the cornbread batter for our dinner. It's so nice to have fewer dishes to do after our son is in bed AND it allows me to do number 4.
4) Go for a walk after work. This one saves me. I know with the current state of affairs getting out and about isn't what it used to be. But getting some time to move your body, clear your head and breathe fresh air is critical for mental and physical health. If going for a walk isn't possible, then maybe yoga on the patio or deck? Just 15 minutes is all it takes to reset before dinner.
5) Take breaks and separate work time and family time. This is hard. You're sitting at the dining room table so of course, you must be available to chat or look at a funny picture. We have found that the way to make this work is to communicate when you are working and when you are available to take a break and be with family and STICK TO IT. It's not a perfect system in our house but it helps with frustration levels and makes the gentle reminders of "I'm working" easier to digest if it's something you've already talked about. It's also helpful to set times that you switch off if taking care of kids or homeschooling is part of the equation. Even if the other adult isn't working from a new home office, breaks are GREATLY appreciated in this new schedule. Helpful pro-tip: the more hydrated you are the more you will have to get up and move your body for short bio-breaks.
Ben taking a break for a quick story, a perk of working at home.