Work from Home – Work/Life Balance
If you work from home, whether you’re a writer, artist or run an online retail business (like me), it’s very easy to forget the importance of weekends. When you work from home, work becomes your world, 24/7.
When I first started my business, I also worked full-time, so by necessity I had to dedicate large chunks of traditional downtime, the weekend, to getting everything done. Once I transitioned to working on my business full-time from home, I continued that habit. And, it’s a bad one.
Fast forward two years and I’m definitely feeling the negative side of the all work and no play equation. I’m sitting at the computer for longer hours but I feel less productive. I get distracted very easily. I don’t sleep as well as I should. My energy levels are very low. In order to tackle these things, I’m reclaiming my weekends.
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I do my best to go for a walk every morning and that 30 mins of solitude helps clear my head so I’m ready for the day but it never seems long enough. The best way I’ve found to enjoy a good chuck of solitude, is to get out in the garden. I’m guessing, the sunshine, fresh air and activity have their own benefits but being able to toil away at a purely physical task, like turning over a bed in the kitchen garden is wonderful for clearing your mind, too. And, it’s amazing how everyone leaves you alone when there’s digging to be done!
When your work life revolves around technology, turning off your phone or computer is challenging. When you work from home it’s even harder. I know that just catching a glimpse of my computer in my peripheral vision is enough to make me go check my email. It’s almost Pavlovian! Now, I do my best to turn everything off for at least 24 hours. The world hasn’t come to an end, yet…
One of the side benefits of enjoying a reasonable period of solitude is that is provides an opportunity to reflect on the week that’s just passed. I notice that thoughts and ideas will bubble up while I’m working around the garden, when they do I note them down – just a scribble on a scruffy old note pad – then go back to whatever I was doing.
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Plan the Week Ahead
At some point over the weekend, usually Sunday evening, I take some time to plan out the week ahead. I don’t go into detail, just an overview of the one thing that I want to achieve in the coming week – and that one thing becomes my theme for the week. For example, one week I might choose to make the images in my online shop my focus, so during the week I’ll go through each product to see if I need to add pictures or edit the ones already there. Another week it might be descriptions or researching products. This works really well for those times when you need a break from the sometimes tedious day to day tasks, kind of like goofing off but, productively.
These habits are still very new and I have to remind myself, often, to walk away from the computer but it’s getting easier each time I do it. I still feel guilty that I’m not actively working on my business but I know that choosing to give myself time off each week will pay dividends in the long run, both financial and physical.
When you work from home, giving yourself permission to take the weekend off is vital to you, your family and your livelihood.
Do you work from home? How do you handle weekends?
If you’re thinking of working from home, have you considered how you’ll manage giving yourself some downtime?