Google “work life balance,” and you’ll be sure to find endless sources of tips and tricks for how to transform your office job into a blissful, seamless lifestyle. For some, it was a smooth and desirable transition. For others, not so much. And that’s okay!
We’ve compiled a list of common psychological issues that are perfectly normal to experience if you’re struggling to work from home — whether you’re a freelance writer, the head of advertising, or a bartender whose nights have suddenly freed up. Note that this list doesn’t involve tricks like “migrate to your solarium for a change of scenery,” because, unfortunately, not all of us have one of those.
● “Let me do these dishes really quick so I can focus.”
Although working in a clean space has its benefits, distracting yourself with cleaning when your workflow pauses or gets boring only reduces your productivity. Don’t worry: your space will get dirty all over again.
TIP: After work, set the same amount of time aside for tidying up as you used to spend on your old work commute.
● “If I stay in cozy clothes, I’ll be more relaxed, and therefore, more creative and productive!”
Even though working remotely comes with many benefits, it’s important to tackle your weekdays with professionalism and rigor. Think about all the times in the office when you had to seriously convince yourself not to lie your head down for a nap. At home, that temptation is stronger, and it’s important to continue honing your work ethic.
TIP: Showering in the morning gives you energy, improves blood circulation, and washes away overnight sweat. Showering at night keeps your bed clean, lets you rinse off the day, and opens up time for meditating or doing chores in the morning. Either way, it helps you stay energized and active.
● “I’m bored and free. Might as well get some work done on Saturday.”
Clocking in here and there to finish a project or check the status of a work issue is fine, but it’s important to maintain a personal life of socializing and hobbying. The more you invest in activities or people who matter to you outside of work, the more engaged with work you’ll become.
TIP: Make plans with yourself, regardless of big events or other people. Identify activities and tasks that spike personal interest. If you’re struggling with a work problem, take a step away. Focusing on something else often inspires solutions. Google “Darwin’s Delay” if you have doubts.
● “It’s my laptop that’s the problem. It’s so slow, heavy, outdated, — ”
If your computer isn’t fifteen years old or requires a wire to reach the internet, odds are that your habits are what need replacing.
TIP: Search model-specific ways to speed up your device. Transferring old photos from your work device onto an external hard drive might free up some space and time.
● “I can get away with a quick nap.”
Everybody knows their body and what they need, but we’re personal fans of taking walks instead. Often, naps can lead to an extended groggy period that’s counterintuitive. Or, they can last too long and disrupt your sleep at night, only making you more tired the next day, ad infinitum.
TIP: Take a ten minute stroll in the sun, if you can. Drink a lot of water, too. That 2pm feeling may have more to do with being cooped up inside than needing rest.
SECOND TIP: Schedule your day from least desirable tasks to most desirable. That way, your activities get more enjoyable as the day progresses, so you’re more motivated to power through that midday gloom.
● “I cannot stop scrolling through social media.”
These days, that very well includes the news, and it commonly stems from a lack of focus rather than a desire to scroll. Or you peek at one post, then get sucked into the vortex. Trust us when we say, “It’s not your fault.”
TIP: Leave your phone in a drawer or closet. This will help you identify how many types you’re actually reaching for your device throughout the day.
SECOND TIP: The cold turkey method: leave your phone in your glove compartment. Of course, this only applies if your car lives in a safe spot.
THIRD TIP: Log out of your accounts. It’s one more safe guard to keep you from
accidentally slipping down the slope.
● “Why am I checking my email again already?”
We don’t know either. Whether nobody’s reaching out, or people are reaching out
constantly, checking it every five minutes will only take you out of the moment, or worse: put you into work mode. You don’t feel bad for ignoring your emails during a meeting or while working on an office task, so why not treat yourself with the same amount of attention and priority?
TIP: Since we all assume that everyone is glued to their devices, now more than ever, let co-workers and clients know you check throughout the day. Although you won’t get to it immediately, you’ll get to it in a timely fashion.