Don’t let your home office become a prison.

If you are like many other people, you probably struggle with getting used to this freedom, which can make your home office feel somewhat like a cubicle/prison. In this post, I’ll share tips on turning working from home into working remotely.

Don’t let your home office become a prison.
Photo by Yasmina H / Unsplash

Thanks to Covid, people have been sent home to figure out the “remote” way of working on their own. Let me break it to you, the way you have been working during the pandemic isn’t more than simply working from home.

The difference between working from home and working remotely is that when you work remotely, you have the freedom to work from anywhere, anytime, without the need to be online/available at all times.

If you are like many other people, you probably struggle with getting used to this freedom, which can make your home office feel somewhat like a cubicle/prison. In this post, I’ll share tips on turning working from home into working remotely.

Your commute time isn't working time.

Let's start with the mornings. To my surprise, I've talked to some people who thought that they were supposed to work during the hours they were typically commuting.

Think of it this way; if you were commuting, you would probably listen to some music or do something other than work. So don't see these hours as "work time"; but as hours that are now yours to do whatever you like with it.

I would recommend that you still get out of bed at the same time you would as you were commuting, but don't spend that time on work. Take some time in the morning to set yourself up for a good day.

Take a shower, have some breakfast, read your favorite blogs, watch your favorite YouTubers, or work on your passion project(s). You will see that by the time you get to your job, you will be a lot more productive and ready to slay any task in front of you.

If you are a morning person, you can use these hours to put in some work, but that does mean that you can call it a day earlier. It's a great way to free up some extra free hours at the end of the afternoon.

Take a walk.

If you struggle with taking some time off work while working from home, try to schedule one walk every day.

Taking a walk during office hours can be refreshing. Going outside for a walk is especially useful if you are stuck on a task; it's a great way to clear your mind and come up with some new ideas.

Tip; walk to the grocery store for your walks. It gives you something to do while also being around people in the store.

The real power of taking a walk is that it prevents you from getting back behind your laptop as soon as the first message comes in. That's why I want to encourage you to take breaks outside of your house until you are comfortable not reaching for your computer as soon as you get a notification.

If you are struggling with your notifications, look at this post on how to manage your notifications.

You can work from anywhere.

A change of scenery can be inspiring and even relaxing, so put your laptop in your bag and go work from your favorite coffee spot.

Usually, working from public places works best if you don't have to make any calls; this way, you can get into focus mode. As a reward, you can have your favorite coffee while working!

Besides popular coffee spots, check out your local library. Many people find this a great place to get some focused work while also being around people, something they miss when they work remotely day in and out.

You don't have to force yourself to work from somewhere other than your home, but it helps to get out of the house from time to time; otherwise, you might feel like the walls of your home office are closing in on you.

Take advantage of the flexibility remote work offers.

Flexibility when working remotely means that you can set your own hours. This doesn't mean you have to pick a start time and work non-stop until you clock your 8 hours.

Need to pick up something? Finish your task and pick that thing up. Does your daughter need a lift? Get in the car and get back to work in 20 minutes.

Rather than thinking in 8-hour work cycles, think of remote work as the freedom to fit work around your life as you see fit. Days can be chaotic, so take advantage of this flexibility.

To embrace the flexibility, you need to learn to batch work that comes in during the hours that you are away from your work. I recommend checking out this blog post about batching certain activities to give you more freedom during the day.

Exercise more often.

Since you don't have to commute anymore, you have to fit in some kind of workout 3 to 5 times a week to make up for all those missed steps you used to walk for your commute.

We all know that exercise is good for our physical health and our mental health.

I can tell you from experience that going to the gym has made a massive difference for me because if I am not exercising regularly, I get brain foggy and don't do my best work.

I encourage you to get a membership at your local gym. Besides having access to proper fitness equipment, you also get access to the people who exercise there! It will take you some time to get to know some people, but after some time and "hello's," you will get to know some people and form friendships.

If fitness isn't your "thing," sign-up for a class. It's another excellent way to get in touch with new people while also staying in shape at the same time.

When you are done for the day, pick it back up tomorrow.

It's 5:30 pm, and you are ready to leave your desk, but then you notice a notification popping up "can you have a look at this?". When you open it, it's a 20 page PDF that needs to be reviewed.

Unless it really can't wait until next morning, don't get back behind your desk, but add it to your to-do list for the next day.

If you struggle with after-hour notifications, remove your work email from your phone, or put the notifications on silent after a specific time.

Working from home/remotely has made it easy to do "just one more thing." However, just as your team needs you during working hours, your family, friends, and well-being need you after those hours.

Don't let your home office become your prison; make it the most fun, inspiring, and productive place in your house.