By Ann Lloyd, Student Savings Guide
Although it may have initially felt like a gift from the heavens, working from home is not without its negatives. No matter what your workday entails, being stuck in your home for days at a time gets boring, to say the least. After a while, you may find yourself experiencing mental side effects that can eventually cause burnout or other serious mental health issues.
If left unchecked, these issues can eventually affect your ability to do your work — and, more importantly, your ability to live a happy, well-balanced life overall. To keep a grip on your health and happiness, consider these techniques that can help you avoid the work-from-home rut.
Designate Time and Space to Work
Another important aspect of being able to maintain a proper work/life balance while working from home is setting boundaries. You have to be able to create — and maintain — concrete boundaries to separate your work time from your personal time.
One way of doing this is by deciding which hours you’ll be working, and then working during those hours only. For instance, if you decide that you work best overnight (and that meshes with your boss’ and co-workers’ schedules), then you should avoid work-related tasks during the daytime.
On the other hand, another way to go about this is by creating a designated workspace. This could involve either sectioning off an area of your room or living room, if not transforming an entire room into a home office space.
Either way, you need to create an area in your home that allows you to work conveniently and comfortably, while also helping you be as productive as possible.
Pursue Healthy Habits
A primary method of avoiding the work-from-home rut is creating healthy habits. It’s been shown that working from home can send you in a few potential directions: Now that you’re working, eating, sleeping, doing everything in the same place, you can become too comfortable, even lazy. Or, on the other hand, you might begin to work too hard or for too many hours at a time.
If you fall into either of these traps, you may have to go above and beyond to seek out and foster healthy habits that can help you stay balanced and dynamic, rather than ones that undermine your sense of productivity.
For instance, consider setting reminders to work out or stretch, eat healthy snacks, go for a walk, drink water, etc. This mindfulness practice leads to other beneficial habits, presenting great ways to “piggyback” your path toward better mental and physical health — regardless of how much work you do each day.
Build Your Credit
Another underlying cause of the work-from-home rut lies in the fact that we’ve all become hyper-aware of our financial status. As an unprecedented number of people have been laid off, fired, furloughed, or had their hours cut, etc., we’ve begun to realize that our previous ideas of job security might no longer exist.
This realization has made many of us anxious about our financial futures, wondering what it will take to maintain our quality of life over time. While we may not be able to fully cement our job or income stability, we can do things to ensure that we can afford our lifestyles even if we do lose our positions or some of our income.
For instance, creating a budget is always the first step in a financial plan, accompanied by diligently tracking and cutting your expenses. Setting aside money for an emergency fund (as well as investments, if you have the option) is also advisable.
Building up your credit is another excellent way to ensure that you can maintain solvency, even (or especially) if you experience a loss of income. With the breathing room provided by a strong credit rating, you’ll still have a way to cover your expenses while you work on your next moves.
Protect Your Home (and Workplace)
Another way to avoid falling into the work-from-home rut is by making sure your home/ workplace remains functional and safe. Many people are feeling pressured to work as much as possible to save for more rainy days, which is great — but you should also be doing everything you can to protect your existing assets.
For instance, by purchasing a home warranty, you can rest assured that the major appliances and systems of your home are protected, and repairs costs are covered. This knowledge can help you breathe easier and move forward a little less bogged down by the anxieties of economic uncertainty.
Learn a New Skill
If you want to further minimize the effects of economic uncertainty, a great way to make yourself more viable is to learn a new skill. For instance, you can do things such as study a new language, gain a new technical certification, learn culinary or baking skills, pursue a first-aid course, or even get trained for driving a stick shift.
No matter what types of skills you choose to learn, you’ll be able to incorporate them into your life. Beyond helping you become a more capable person in general — always a worthy goal — your new skills also might help you start applying for new positions in the future.
There are plenty of steps you can take to avoid falling into the work-from-home rut. Besides the tips listed, you can try anything else that makes you feel better, teaches you a new skill, helps you stabilize your finances, or aids you in becoming a healthier, happier person without putting yourself or others at risk.