How To Work From Home Without Losing Your Mind

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Me after 300 days of working from home with minimal human contact

Alright, so I think we can all agree that working from home is a literal dream come true.

And if you happen to be your own boss…

Well, you’ve pretty much hit the occupational jackpot.

You can get up whenever you feel like it.

Set your own work hours.

Watch copious amounts of HGTV then use that knowledge to design a sweet home office setup that Chip and Joanna Gaines would be proud of.

And the very best part is…

You don’t have to deal with people.

Annoying people. Stubborn people. Asshole-ish people. Melodramatic people. And just sucky people in general.

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The moment when you realize you no longer have to deal with other people’s bullshit.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

Right?

Well, y’all…it’s complicated.

Look, I’m not going to lie and tell y’all that working from home sucks.

It doesn’t.

In fact, it’s the opposite of sucking.

The truth is, working from home has a ridiculous number of perks and I’d rather work from home than, well not work from home.

BUT

It also has some drawbacks as well.

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Me explaining to my friends why working from home isn’t as amazing as I’d thought it would be.

I’m currently on my 18th month of working from home and recently found myself browsing through a listing of local part-time jobs openings.

And not because I need the money.

Well, not yet anyway.

But because staring out of the same window for over 300 days with only an apathetic cat and sleepy dog to keep me company isn’t as easy as I thought it’d be.

So I decided to create a survival guide of sorts for those of us who belong to the ‘work from home tribe’ and those who are considering joining.

These are the things I wish I would have implemented from day one of working from home, but God forbid I do any research into anything before diving in head first.

THE “WORK FROM HOME” SURVIVAL GUIDE

#1 GET A DAMN HOBBY OR TWO

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I know you think you’ll be spending every second of every day “on your grind.”

Lolz.

You won’t. Not even close.

And if you do, you will burn out faster than you can say, “Gary Vaynerchuk is my hero.”

You need to do crap that has nothing to do with your work crap.

Bonus points if your hobby gets you out of the house.

Triple bonus points if your hobby involves interacting with other people.

Take up a sport. Learn how to knit. Start a garden. Collect stamps. I guess people still do that? If not, who cares. Do it anyway!

But for the love of goodness, do something simply for the enjoyment of doing it.

Your sanity will thank you later.

#2 DON’T BE A VAMPIRE

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Me wondering why the sun burns after not leaving my house for a month.

Go outside at least once a day.

Seriously ya’ll.

The sun helps your body make vitamin D and probably other stuff that I’m too lazy to google.

Perhaps I’m not a scientist (I mean, I’m not) but I do know that going outside makes me feel hella good.

Protip: Get a dog

Amendment to Protop: Do not get one of the most active dog breeds in the world like my dumb ass did.  

#3 TRY TO TALK TO SOMEONE AT LEAST ONCE A DAY

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Quadruple bonus points for being on a swing set while talking.

I’m not picky here.

It can be online, on the phone, through text message, or two cans connected by a string.

Have at it.

BUT

Do try to have a chit chat with someone once a day if you can. Even if it’s as simple as talking to the cashier at your local grocer about how rainy it’s been lately.

It counts.

And it’s super important to your sanity and emotional well being.

There’s a reason why the worst punishment in prison is solitary confinement.

We need consistent human interaction.

Protip: Check out meetup.com to find like-minded folks to chit chat and do stuff with!

#4 COMBAT WORKSPACE FATIGUE

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Girl, same.

Is workspace fatigue a real thing or did I just make it up?

I don’t know, but I swear I’ve suffered from it and that makes it real to me.

Look, after a while sitting at the same desk and staring out the same window can really get to you.

Especially if your occupation requires tons of creativity.

All that sameness can really hamper said creativity.

SO

At least once a week, try to work somewhere other than your office.

A cafe. A library. A park. The McDonalds inside of a Walmart.

It doesn’t matter where just so long as you switch it up every now and then.

Protip: If you have a backyard, haul your laptop and some iced tea out back and enjoy a nice change of scenery without having to leave your home.

#5 DATE

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A concert. Dinner. A movie. Drinks at the bar. Clubbing.

A long walk on a moonlit beach on an unseasonably warm October night with soft jazz playing from an unknown location.

Now when I say date, I don’t mean strictly in the romantic sense (although, get it if you can!)

I’m actually a huge fan of the “friend date.”

Treat a friend to the current musical being put on by your local community theatre or go halfsies on a bottle of expensive merlot at the Olive Garden.

Try to do something special with someone (romantic or platonically) at least once a month.

It’s fun, it keeps your friendships/romances fresh, and life’s short.

We should try to spend a good amount of it with the people that mean the most to us.

#6 PUT ON SOME DAMN CLOTHES

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What I wear when I work from home…J/K I wear joggers and a t-shirt.

One of the best things about working from home is that you can wear whatever the hell you feel like wearing.

Want to work naked?

Work naked.

Want work in a three-piece business suit?

Go for it.

Over the past 18 months, I’ve found that what I wear isn’t nearly as important as actually getting dressed.

AKA Get out of your PJ’s folks.

Psychologically, I believe that getting dressed for work is one of the most important things I do to set myself up for a productive workday.

Now granted, my work clothes rank low in style and high in comfort (sweats, I wear sweats) but when I change into them it’s like a switch gets turned on in my head.

Morning fun is over. Work time has begun.

So put on some clothes, dammit.

IN CONCLUSION

I LOVE working from home. It’s convenient. It’s comfortable. And most days it feels like a dream.

BUT

If you’re not careful to take care of your mental, emotional and physical needs, it can become depressingly lonely, dull and stagnant.

So always remember, you have the power!

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evelyn dar

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5 comments

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  1. itsjusttiana

    Wow! I needed this. I’m in college right now and am finishing up soon. I’ve been struggling with trying to figure out what I’m going to do afterwards. I want to work from home because being in a wheelchair, that would be the easiest thing. The tough part is that I want to make sure that I’m getting out the house and interacting with people and I fear that if I work from home I won’t get to too often. These tips eased my mind. Thank you.

  2. Shaily Agrawal

    Thanks Evelyn! I have been workingfrom home for many years now and all the tips you have shared have been tried and tested successfully. There are other important tips:
    *Remember that you must WORK from home.
    * Put a physical reminder to your family (close the door, maybe) to remind them that these are your working hours.
    * Have schedule and follow it religiously.

    • Evelyn Dar

      Yes! Such good points. I frequently have to remind myself that spending all day on twitter cultivating my “author brand” is not my actual work lol

      • Shaily Agrawal

        It is actually a bigger challenge to remind your family (specially children) in a subtle but clear way that just because you are home, you are not not working!

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