According to research by Inc.com, a popular business publication, up to 62% of people work from home or offsite work locations. As technology advances in the future, this trend is only expected to grow. Without a time clock to punch, or a boss monitoring your comings and goings, getting started and focusing throughout the day can be tough to do. Or, it can be drastically opposite - work can carry throughout the day and night, plus into weekends leaving you little time for self care. Either way, working remotely can be challenging on your mental and emotional health. So here are some tips to keep your mind healthy while managing your remote work environment.
1. Embrace Routine & Structure.
Structure helps to define the often blurred lines that come from working from home. Waking up at the same time every day is a good way to initiate a routine. If you struggle with this, try setting an alarm and place it in the other room to make sure you physically have to get out of bed to turn it off. It’s much easier to get started with the day once you’re up and out of bed. Before bed at night, make sure you have a list of things that need to get done the following day and that your schedule is set. This way, you can get up and know exactly what you’ll be working on.
2. Switch up your environment.
Working remotely can be isolating at times which can lead to mental health concerns. That’s why it’s important to physically switch up your environment. Try working out of a coffee shop one or two days a week or stepping outside of your workspace to get some air once or twice a day. Switching up your environment will provide more opportunity for social interaction and will help prevent you from feeling isolated.
3. Set realistic and consistent goals.
It’s important to be sensible about what you can accomplish during a workday at home. Be careful not to overcommit yourself to work or home projects throughout the day. This will only lead to disappointment when you fail to meet your goals. Setting and accomplishing a few crucial goals each day consistently will end up boosting your confidence levels and ensure that your larger goals are met over the course of time.
3. Create a game plan for your day.
Without a plan or strategy for what you want to accomplish throughout the day, you won’t be able to work productively and can become easily distracted with non work related activities. To map your day out effectively, make a list of the top things you want to get done the night before and then give yourself a reasonable slot of time on your calendar to complete those tasks.
4. Carve out time for your health.
One of the benefits of working remotely is that you have more control of your schedule. Why not use it as an opportunity to become the healthiest you’ve ever been? Make sure that you eat well, get the proper amount of sleep each nice, and exercise regularly to keep your body, mind, and soul healthy.
5. Identify what you need to work well.
Really learn what you need in order to perform at your best and then try to create an environment that provides that for you. For instance, if you know you work better while sitting upright at a desk, don’t work from a laptop on the couch. Separating your work space to once confine of your house can also help put you into the proper state of mind when you enter that room. Or, If you know that music helps you focus, try working with headphones on. For some people, binaural beats playing in the background really help them focus.
6. Work ahead.
On the days you’re feeling your most focused, accomplish projects ahead of schedule, so you can take time off when you need it. Working ahead will help compensate for the days that you fall short of focus and get less done than you had hoped.
7. Manage your stress levels.
Research shows that stress can trigger mental illness and negatively affect your ability to work at your best. While it’s sometimes impossible to avoid all stress, keeping it controlled will be important to maintaining your mental health while working remotely. Taking short breaks every 2 or 3 hours can help give you scheduled time to decompress.
8. Stay positive.
Without even realizing it, you could be playing negative self talk tapes in your head which can only make a difficult day worse. If you struggled a little more than you hoped with your focus today, shake it off and try to find your way back into the flow. Reminding yourself about all of the great things in your awesome life is a great way to instantly boost your moods.