Ânia Marcos
Ânia Marcos

Struggling With Finding Balance When Working From Home?

As someone who works from home, I understand how hard it is to switch from working for others to working on our own projects. My full-time remote job was bleeding into my personal space.

(To be clear: no one ever asked me to work on my off-hours, I just had no self-control and ended up overworking myself all the time.)

Fortunately, I understand that if I’m not working on my children’s book, I’m not happy; and if I overwork myself, I’m not helping anyone (quite the opposite, actually).

That said, I started experimenting. Even though I’m constantly trying to figure out better ways to optimize my time and energy levels, I made some pretty cool discoveries during these past 3 years.

Here goes – I hope that these will help you, too!

My top three tips are… (drums, please!):

1. Turn off your mobile notifications. Like, right now.

Seriously! It may seem obvious, but this is huge. We’re addicted to technology.

I thought I had this super under control… I mean, it was completely normal to check my email while on vacation, just while I was waiting for my luggage to arrive, right?

…sigh.

I didn’t even realize how addicted I was to staying on top of things, until I took a week off and uninstalled ALL my work-related apps. I only kept WhatsApp, in case of emergencies.

The number of times I automatically reached for the email and social media apps that I no longer had was insane.

#AniaWeHaveAProblem

After that week, I changed my approach to mobile notifications: everything was turned OFF. WhatsApp was the only exception. And even then, I muted all of my friends and only left alerts on for my team’s chats.

…and now, after my work hours, my phone goes into silent mode. Sweet, sweet silence. The result? When I’m off hours, I’m truly off. The silence helps to reiterate that this is my time now.

Work, you have no power here!

2. Get out! Out, out, out!

Working from home is great! No traffic, no rain, no clock to beat, no makeup…

But it also can mean no sun, no exercise, no social interaction, no sleep schedule…

Working from home means we need to be extra careful about our own habits. It’s easy to excuse behaviors that are just unhealthy. We need to get out and get some sun, establish a healthy wake-up routine and MOVE!

Sometimes, just a walk down the street to buy some bread makes the whole day better. And you’re entitled to your lunch break too.

The best thing I do for myself now, is to go to the gym and spend a morning per week working from a coffee shop. It doesn’t break the bank and it boosts my productivity like crazy!

3. Establish your rituals.

This is my personal favorite. The trick is that you need to adapt it to something that works for you and keep at it long enough until it works:

I decided that once I was done with my work day, I would take a shower. After doing this for a couple of weeks, I started feeling a decrease in my anxiety levels right after I finished this ritual.

Today, I feel so calm and relaxed, that I’m finally able to leave work aside and be present in the moment.

…I even started using two shower gels to keep my ritual sacred: one for after work hours, and another for during work hours. Just in case I need a shower in the morning instead.

Was This Post Helpful?

I’d love to know if the post was helpful to you in any way, so please let me know in the comments below!

..and I’m dying to know: Do you have any tips to get out of “freelance mode” and focus on your projects and family? If so, I’d love to hear about it!

6 Comments

  1. Reka Kovacs - 9 months ago

    Getting out is something I know I should be doing more and I know it would helping, but I still somehow struggle with it… I’m conscious of the problem though so that counts as a first step I guess.

    As for rituals – having a song that I play when work-mode is triggered is helpful for me.
    I’m pretty new to this game and I find it quite challenging, but the kickoff son has been good so far. 🙂

    • aniamarcos - 9 months ago

      Thank you for your comment, Reka! I totally feel you, sometimes I have to make myself get out of the house too. Sometimes I promise the cafe owner I’ll be back on X day. That helps me a bit 😀

      Love your music ritual! Is that a music you play to get out of work mode?

  2. Crystal - 9 months ago

    Love this! Spot on! I have an exercise bike I use during the day, and set an alarm so I actually go peddle for 10 min or so. But getting out and walking really lifts my spirits and keeps me feeling like a cave dwelling troll…lol

    • aniamarcos - 9 months ago

      Thanks, Crystal! I love your bike alarm, that’s amazing! Do you do that every day? When in the day do you do it?

  3. John - 9 months ago

    Ania,

    I have worked from home for the last 8 years and I relate to the need to get out…get outside piece.

    I recently switched from working at home to working from a co-work office but even there, the most important thing…when I do it….. is getting up early and spending time re-connecting with myself and quieting my inner anxiety. Some people call this meditation or prayer…When I do this, and have time to set my own direction for the day rather than completely let “the day” dictate what I do, it completely changes how the day feels to me and I feel like I can say what I truly accomplished. Not just a list of tasks completed….but for what? I love hearing other people’s intentional habits. Thanks for sharing.

    • aniamarcos - 9 months ago

      I can relate so much, John! That’s really golden insight, thank you for sharing.

      Setting an intention is such a powerful thing. I’ve been trying to get more in the habit of starting my day with an intention too. Recently, I’ve been taking my time with breakfast. I start with a hot tea and slowly drink it while I relax a little. It’s been an interesting exercise…

      Thank you for your wonderful comment! It’s really encouraging to read the comment section and engage like this 🙂 <3

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