Work from Home Challenges: Maintaining a Positive Mindset
While it may be a dream come true for many, working from home comes with its own unique set of challenges. Maintaining a positive mindset can be more difficult than it seems when you are an office of one and have to wear all of the hats yourself. Not to worry, dear readers! I have got you covered. Read on for 8 tips to maintain a positive mindset while working from home.
You were so over working for other people. You hated the commute to the office. Being the nocturnal night owl that you are, you couldn’t stand having to be dressed, caffeinated, and ready for business by 8 am. Worst of all, you constantly felt like you were way more capable than your superiors. So, what did you do?
You bootstrapped. You hustled. You spent every waking moment and every penny of your savings creating a business so that you could be your own boss. Ahhh…finally!
Congratulations! You are now running the show, which means that you get to make your own schedule. You can wear whatever you want (or nothing at all). For real though, puh-lease change out of those pajamas from two nights ago. You can work from anywhere. You are finally FREE!
…But at what cost? When you are the head honcho, your so-called “freedom” comes at a price. From needy clients in different time zones to juggling multiple deadlines at once to the inherent financial uncertainty that comes with paving your own way – “freedom” may not be what you thought it was going to be. Not to mention that you will be clocking in most or all of your hours by yourself.
Due to the pandemic, much of the population has now experienced isolation and working solo. For you, this is how it always is and depending on the nature of your business, how it may always be. While stress, anxiety, and loneliness can come with the territory of working from home, you don’t have to feel stuck in a bleak mental state.
It may seem like you have to be a superhero to juggle it all, but with a little bit of extra effort and a desire to maintain a positive mindset, you can be the ultimate boss babe (or boss man) without feeling overwhelmed. Below are 8 tips that I swear by for staying happy, healthy, and sane.
8 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Mindset While Working from Home
1. Organize your space.
When you work from home, there is no separation between your work life and your home life. It is therefore very easy to get distracted by projects and chores during work hours.
“I could draft this proposal, but that pile of laundry is staring at me, begging to be folded!” Does this sound familiar?
In order to truly be content while working from home, you can’t have all of your other responsibilities beckoning you to leave your desk. For this reason, I recommend designating a solid chunk of time to throw on a few episodes of Marie Kondo for inspiration and clear out the clutter! Beyond the initial ransacking, make sure you have designated time each week for house chores so that they don’t interfere with your work hours.
2. Take breaks and get outside.
As an entrepreneur, you are probably a self-starter who can easily get lost in your work. While it is great to maximize productivity, your mental and physical health will benefit greatly from a few regimented breaks. Bonus points if they can happen outside! Good old vitamin D from the sun does wonders for your mental health and for keeping your mindset positive. If you live in an urban setting, consider walking or riding your bike to run a few errands. This will ensure that you are getting some fresh air throughout the day.
A few years ago, “Sitting is the new smoking,” became a popular adage. While that comparison may be a little extreme, it is true that a sedentary lifestyle poses measurable threats to your health. Since you are your own boss, make sure you are scheduling time in your day to be active. With this, I follow one rule, and that is to break a sweat at least once every day.
Since you spend a lot of time working alone, consider joining a social sporting league, or find a friend who wants to be your gym buddy. This will help you feel connected to a community and ward off some of the effects of working in an isolated environment.
4. Feed your body, feed your brain.
When you are slammed with work and you are a party of one, it can be really tough to stay disciplined with your eating habits. It is easy to get so buried in projects that you accidentally skip meals. Or, maybe you end up bingeing on snacks all day because you are alone, busy and there is no one around to judge you.
I get it. It happens to the best of us. And once in a while isn’t the end of the world. Just make sure that it doesn’t become a habit. You can control this by limiting what you buy at the grocery store. If you stock your fridge with healthy options and plan meals ahead of time, you won’t fall victim to the stay-at-home snack attack.
5. Schedule real-life meetings when possible.
It is 2020 and we live in a virtual world. I am all about embracing and leveraging technology. But when you are working from home on your own, it is critical for your mental health to maintain a decent amount of human interaction. We live in a world (especially with the recent pandemic) where everything has been moved to the screen.
Take a serious look at your schedule for the week and determine if any of your Zoom meetings can happen in person, over lunch or coffee. Evaluate if any of your emails or texts can be communicated over a phone call. Make sure that your home practice doesn’t make you less of a human being. In other words, don’t become a robot!
6. Work in unconventional places.
While we are on the topic of human interaction, it can be a nice break from your work-at-home routine to take your laptop to a café, park, restaurant, or even a friend’s house. Change up the scenery, see some nature, or order some delicious food. Treat yourself well, because if you don’t, your self-employed model is not sustainable.
7. Limit your time spent on (personal) social media.
What begins as a “quick check-in” can easily end up becoming a three-hour rabbit hole that ends in political debates and cat memes, with a side of stalking your ex’s brother’s new girlfriend. Don’t do it!
A lot of entrepreneurial endeavors require social media marketing and being on those platforms to get the work done, which is totally fine. However, if you are an avid social media user outside of work, make an effort to designate a couple of times each day where you are, “allowed,” to be scrolling for personal use. If you don’t have that kind of self-control, consider making a dummy account (or work profile) and adding it as an admin to all of the business pages that you manage. When you are clocking hours, remain logged in only to that account.
8. Be fluid and flexible.
When you are an entrepreneur or freelancer, the world is your oyster! As someone who literally makes a living off of digital planning, I understand the desire to be hyper-organized and deadline-driven. The secret to not losing your mind is to gracefully walk the line between being a perfectionist and being able to go with the flow.
When you make the leap from working for a company to working for yourself or from working in an office to working from home, you no longer answer to a boss. Instead, you answer to several bosses…AKA, your clients. Your clients’ needs, deadlines, and visions will be ever-changing. In order to keep them happy you are going to need to loosen the reigns and become adaptable. My mantra: Bend. Don’t Break.
Remember you are not alone when it comes to work from home challenges. Even if you work for yourself, broadcasting live from your couch, there are a lot of other people doing the same thing. By finding ways to connect with the communities that you engage with and intentionally making time to take care of yourself, you can be happy and fulfilled while working from home.