Tell me if this sounds familiar. You took on a work from home job because you knew that your personal goals and work ethic align well with remote work. You started working and loved it… But after a while, you inexplicably fell into a rut.
It’s nothing about the job or the remote work that you dislike. But you just feel off.
Does this sound like you?
I’ve been there before, too. I am one year into a WFH job and about four months ago, I seemingly fell out of love with it. I had no reason to feel so down. And I knew that I didn’t want to work an office job. So, what gives?
Well, it turns out, it was my lifestyle that was contributing to my bad vibes. And these few tricks made a world of a difference to me. So I’m sharing these tips and tricks with you now so that you can get out of your funk ASAP!
Start your day early
I know, every list in the digital universe probably tells you to wake up early. I’m not telling you that you need to wake up at 4 AM to be successful at work. Frankly, I’d be lying to you if I said that I woke up anywhere near sunrise. For the gals who like to sleep in, you are seen.
That being said, there is an undeniable benefit to waking up earlier each day. While rolling out of bed five minutes before logging online for the day might be super tempting, it’s terrible for you.
I spent the better part of my first year working from home waking up at 8:55 AM for a 9 AM start. While it felt satisfying in the moment to get a bit of extra shut-eye, after a while, I regretted jumping into work so quickly.
It negatively impacted my mental health to immediately worry about work, not even seconds after opening my eyes.
Try to give yourself at least an hour before work to wake up and start your daily routine. You can use this time to shower, work out, read a book, or just enjoy a slow start to your day.
Get out of those PJs
Remember when we first started to work from home and everyone was so excited to work in their PJs? Maybe that wasn’t the best idea.
Working in your PJs is a slippery slope. It starts by telling yourself that you’re doing it sporadically, just for fun. It sort of feels like PJ day in elementary school. Eventually, you end up spending every day in your ratty old PJs without even thinking much about it.
The downfall here is that over time, wearing your PJs 24/7 is going to make you feel super gross and bummed out. Once the thrill has worn off, it’s not as exciting anymore, but it’s still addicting. This is especially true if you don’t make video calls as part of your job and have no incentive to get dressed.
According to psychologist Dr. Jennifer Dragonette, PsyD, the effects of wearing your PJs all day every day include lower self-esteem, decreased productivity, dissatisfaction with work, and sleep disruptions.
This isn’t to say that you need to dress to the nines either! You can invest in comfy work from home clothes, like stylish matching sweatsuits or soft sweaters. So long as you’re designating certain clothes for sleep and certain clothes for work, you’re on the right track!
Have a designated workspace
Listen, I know that it isn’t always possible to have a home office. There are a million reasons why you might not be able to and the reality is, your office might be a small space in your bedroom. I’m not saying that it can’t be. In fact, my workspace is set up less than a foot from my bed!
It is worth considering how strict you are about where you do your work. For instance, do you spend most of your time working from your actual bed? I know that for a long time, I allowed myself to work from bed whenever I pleased (spoiler alert: “whenever” translated to “almost always”).
I think it probably goes without saying that spending all day in bed is not going to make you feel better. I learned this lesson the hard way!
Whether it’s an office or a desk in your bedroom or even your kitchen table, be intentional about using this workspace. For me, I’m not always able to work in just one place, like a desk. I often work on a chair in my living room. But by getting up and moving to this space, I’m able to put myself in the mindset to work each day.
Make use of your offline hours
This next point is quite possibly the most important. So if you’re going to take away one thing I said in this article, make sure it’s this one.
About 8 months into my 9-5 remote job, I started to feel miserable and couldn’t put my finger on it. It wasn’t until I stepped back and evaluated my situation that I realized the problem: I had made my job my entire world.
Yes, many people who work in offices also have this problem. But the unique problem associated with working from home is that you work, live, and relax in your “office”. Imagine watching TV every night in your work cubicle.
Some of the tips from above can help you to tackle this issue. However, the best thing you can do to distinguish your work life from your personal life when you work from home is to make use of your offline hours.
This means that when the clock strikes 5 o’clock (or whenever your workday ends), you turn off your computer and enjoy the rest of your day. Don’t just always get into your PJs and spend the night mindlessly watching Netflix. Even if you go to bed at 10 PM, you have 5 hours of free time at your disposal. Use them!!
Life is too damn short to waste it all either working or waiting around for the next chunk of working hours.
Socialize, socialize, socialize!
Let’s address the elephant in the room: working from home can be pretty damn isolating sometimes. I absolutely love that I’m able to work from home. There are so many benefits, but like with anything else, there are drawbacks.
It can be hard to not speak to people as much as you would in an in-person job. This is especially true for those who live alone. After a while, even those who enjoy their alone time can get pretty lonely.
When you work from home, you have to be intentional about arranging face-to-face time with others.
There are a few ways you can combat the blues. If you live with your partner, plan date nights or weekend outings, even if it’s something small. Call up a friend and plan to meet up for coffee. Ask your sibling if they want to get together for drinks.
Everyone needs somebody. And as we’ve learned during the pandemic, face-to-face contact is so important to your mental health and happiness.
I love working from home and I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. Most people who choose to work from home will say the same. But like anything else, there are times when you feel a bit down.
Don’t worry, it’s not forever! All you need to re-evaluate the way you’re spending your time. These few tips will definitely help you start to get back on track to loving the WFH life!
Do you work from home? What do you do to keep yourself out of a rut? Let me know in the comments!
And if you’re also a twentysomething trying to navigate the adult world, make sure to check out more content like this on my blog.