Working from home is a blessing in so many ways. It offers flexibility, freedom and a relaxation in one’s life that when Monday morning comes around (which seems to happen quickly every week!), you aren’t part of that rat race, having to sit in peak hour traffic or commute with the millions of others into the city to get to work and earn a living.
When I started working from home, I came across quite a few articles on how to be productive and the do’s and don’ts of having a home office. There were of course some great tips, though with everyone having a different home life it therefore means that each person needs to employ different structures to make working from home productive.
For example, someone living alone doesn’t need to worry about finding a quiet space to work in, which is very different for someone who has young children running around the house. Some jobs are still based on the 9-5 workday, whereas other people don’t have that time restriction and prefer to work during the night than the day.
For me, I have found working from home is a bit like trying to go on a diet – trying to live by a set of rules, however intelligent they may seem, only sets me up to eventually rebel against the restrictions I have put on myself – which would mean that instead of spending a day binging on chocolate, I would spend a day binging on a series on Netflix!
When I realised over a decade ago that I needed to lose weight, I knew a diet wasn’t what would work for me, not in the long term anyway. I needed a complete lifestyle change, and then there was no need for a diet and the whole idea of losing weight became an effortless happening based on the changes in my lifestyle.
Working from home is also a lifestyle change, and to do it in a successful and productive way you need to approach it with the realisation that it is not as straight forward as heading into the office, working until 5pm, and then turning off the computer and heading home to enjoy your evening until the next day starts again.
Of course working from home means you need to have focus and determination, and especially if you are starting your own business, you have to put in the hard hours to get things off the ground – but you also need to find an inner balance. For me, that meant looking at the three basic levels of mind, body and spirit.
Each person will have their own way to find and keep inner balance. Here is what keeps me balanced:
Mind: I need to be challenged and make sure I don’t get stuck in a rut. I do this by keeping my options open and to be willing to take on new roles or try new platforms so I am continuously learning and expanding my skillset. I do online courses when there is time. I also realise that working from home means busy days and slower days, stressed days and relaxed days, and not to let my mind take over with negative thoughts if suddenly things aren’t going to plan. If I find myself going around in circles trying to solve a problem I am faced with, I take a 10 minute time-out and sit outside or do something completely unrelated to the task causing me concern – clearing the mind by taking a short break can often lead to clarity.
Body: Daily exercise and going outside into the fresh air is so important. Sitting at a computer all day can easily mean feeling lethargic and it is easy to slowly let the kilos creep on, not to mention that our eyes also need some time in natural light away from the screens. Going for a run each morning keeps my system feeling great. I always set aside 1 hour every morning for exercise, regardless of how busy my day looks or whether I am in the mood or not, because I know I am more productive mentally after doing a workout physically. Nothing like those natural endorphins to make the whole body feel alive!
Spirit: If I am feeling down or stressed, I book myself in for a massage. If I want to spend time cooking a beautiful dinner for my husband, I will take the time to do this. If I find myself becoming distracted by watching a beautiful bird which is drinking from the bird bath outside my window, I allow these moments to be there. Whether you are religious, spiritual, or anything else, take time to nurture and be kind to yourself. It can be stressful to own a business and balance the endless responsibilities we all have, so make sure you find a little bit of “me time” and do the things which make your soul sing.
If you have chosen to work from home, there is a big chance you have done this because you want to feel free in your life – so find your balance and enjoy this gift we have where we can earn a living from the comfort of our home and live life with freedom!