For my entire life, I’ve dreamed of working from home. I envisioned working from bed in my PJ’s, powering through my work with no interruptions, and feeling oh-so fulfilled by my lack of daily human interaction.
How wrong I was.
Even with my more introverted tendencies, I learned quickly after my first few weeks of working from home full time that there are certain things that need to be added, avoided, and pursued in order to maintain a proper work-life balance. Within the first couple of months, I found myself irritable, angry, annoyed, and isolated – all because I hadn’t set up boundaries or any sort of schedule for myself when it came to work. I slowly learned that there are certain things I need to be intentional about when it comes to working from home.
1. I need to be intentional with my relationships.
Definitely one of my toughest challenges – because I’m such a home body! I love being at home, but working from home by myself means much less human interaction than when I worked in an office with other people – it’s actually much lonelier than I anticipated. I find that I have to work a little bit harder to build relationships because I’m not constantly around people. Setting up lunch dates, coffee breaks, and working with other freelancers or self-employed folks has helped me find ways to build relationships and leads me to my next point…
2. I need to be intentional about getting out of the house.
Being a homebody and an introvert can be a deadly combo. During a period of time last summer when I was working from home and had a break from photo sessions and weddings, I didn’t leave my house for a straight 56 hours. And by not leaving my house – I mean not even setting a foot outside of it. I was going insane by the end of those 56 hours and FINALLY decided that I needed to be intentional about actually leaving my house. Working from my favorite local coffee shop (Wunderbar Café), working with friends, and watching my parents dogs on the occasion have all given me good reasons to get out of the house!
3. I need to be intentional about setting specific work hours.
This is a tough one when you work from home. The wonderful thing about leaving an office is that you close the door and go home – so it’s easier for your brain to say hey, you’re done working for the day! (I know from experience that that’s not always as easy as it sounds, though!). But there’s something about working from home that, instead, makes your brain say hmmmm… I should be doing something right now. I answer emails on this couch during the day, maybe I should do it while I’m hanging out with my husband… And there goes the work-life balance, flying out the window. When I decided to set specific hours for when I work each day of the week, I had a much easier time shutting down my laptop (and my brain) and breaking that association of home equaling work (at least, breaking that constant connection of needing to work all the time!)
4. I need to be intentional about where I work in my home.
I used to work from my couch every SINGLE day. No desk. No chair. (I had both of those, though). I was just so much more comfortable on the couch than I was in my little office! But something strange started happening – when I was sitting on my couch and I wasn’t editing or answering emails, I felt panicked. It took every ounce of self control inside of me to NOT open my laptop at 11PM at night to get some extra work done – even though I knew in my brain that it wasn’t healthy. And to be honest, I failed a LOT at that.
With the help of some friends, I realized that my brain had made an association: sitting on the couch = work time. Not rest time. So every time I would try to simply sit on my couch and rest, all I could think about was work. Soon after realizing this, I knew I needed to be intentional about working in my office as often as I possibly could, and oh my goodness, has it made the biggest difference!
Do you have dreams of working from home? Or are you someone who works from home full time, too? If so, I'd love to connect! Drop a comment below or use the contact tab (above) to get in touch!