Today I'm going to dive into some productivity tips for work at home success! Because working from home without losing your mind or burning out is hard, but it is possible to be successful and balance a work at home job!
The first two weeks that I worked from home full time, I went all in. I spent my days excitedly working away at the things I hadn’t had time for before. I took a lunch break, sometimes at my desk and sometimes allowing myself to sit outside or read, but it was exciting to be working towards my dream and so I worked hard.
But at the end of the second week I was already feeling burnt out! I was feeling discouraged and exhausted. And I had no idea why. This was the thing I’d been working towards for months, right?
The next week we went on vacation and I found myself dreading coming home and having to get to work again. I’d spent months and months excited to quit my job and to have more time to focus on my blogs and their growing income, but only two weeks in I was ready to give up. Something wasn’t right.
So I decided to step back and reevaluate. Had I made the wrong choice in thinking I could manage working from home? Was I not cut out for this job?
Well, after some thought, I realized that the truth was, I had gone from 10% to 110% and in doing so I left behind all the other things I had been making time for. I left behind my balance and my sanity.
Working from home is very different than working with others. You don’t necessarily have to get out of the house or talk to anyone at all for the entire day. And days can turn into weeks, leaving you feeling a bit crazy.
Over time, I learned that I was, in fact, cut out for this, but it required an intentional effort to balance my work with the other things I needed to feel sane and encouraged to keep going.
So let’s talk about some of the most important things you need when balancing your work from home schedule so that you don’t lose your mind and burn out!
You Still Need Breaks!
It was so easy to go from one task to the next, absorbed in my work and not taking any breaks. Or to go from work tasks to chores or errands without a break.
Some days I would wake up, stay in my PJ’s and plop down at my desk. I’d feel super productive until around noon and then I’d start to fade, feeling burnt out. I thought I had to push through and keep working, so I did.
I wasn’t until later that I realized I needed some legit breaks in order to keep up my momentum. There are tons of different theories about the work/break ratio and productivity. I have tried several, but at the end of the day, you have to find what works for you.
I find that scheduling in specific breaks helps me. So I have a list of things that I can do during these breaks that will refuel me and I try and schedule them into my day.
It's important to find breaks that refuel you and foster further productivity!
I would caution against things like watching TV as a break because this probably won’t help your productivity and may leave you feeling more drained and make it harder to get back to work. I try to do things like go for a walk, exercise, read, play piano or something else that will help keep my brain stimulated while taking a break from working.
What do you do to take a break during your work from home work day?
You Still Need a Routine!
It took me a few weeks to realize that I needed a detailed routine for my week and for my days in order to feel balanced and productive.
When making your weekly routine, consider things like scheduling in your breaks, time for chores or other obligations, a morning routine and a start and stop time.
When I made these changes, I found myself being so much more productive.
One of the biggest changes that helped my daily routine was pushing back my start time. I usually get up around 6 or 6:30 at this point and I would get to work soon after that. But now, I’ve made my start time 8 and so I have time to read my Bible, eat breakfast, get dressed and ready and watch the news or tidy up a few things.
Then I know that at 8, I can sit down, ready for the day and get started.
I also made a list of all of the tasks that needed to be done in a week and began to divide them up into sensible chunks or batches. And then I assinged those to different days during the week.
For example, with two blogs, I have designated Monday to all of my Courage. Hope. Love. blog and social media tasks. I will write posts and network during the week, but that day, I know exactly what I need to do.
It makes it so much easier to be sure that you are getting everything done.
Creating a weekly and daily routine is an essential part of balancing a work from home job without losing your sanity.
You Still Need to Get Out!
One of the things that I needed to schedule into each and every week was time out of the house. I made sure to schedule at least one or two different chunks of time to get out and do work somewhere like a cafe.
I also try to schedule one or two times to get together with a friend so that I can maintain that need for social interaction. Even if you are an introvert, I highly recommend scheduling this time.
Getting out and interacting with others, switching up your work environment and growing relationships can greatly benefit your mental health and productivity.
Where do you like to go to do work besides your house?
Next Steps to Balancing a Work from Home Job
1. Make a weekly routine and a daily routine
2. Schedule time with friends and out of the house
3. Find productive things that can refuel you throughout the day and schedule them in as breaks
Working from home is a whole new world. A lot of times it is glorified or romanticized and don’t get me wrong, it is an awesome opportunity, but it is hard work and takes a lot of self-discipline and intentionality.
What do you struggle to balance as you work from home?