Remote work is common these days — whether your company offers telecommuting as a benefit or you’re striking out on your own as a freelancer. It seems like a great perk, but it can also remove the structure that holds your days together. Before you know it, it’s 4 p.m., you’re still in your pajamas and you haven’t eaten lunch … let alone seen the outside world.
We gave you some basics on how to work from home not too long ago, but this pitfall can be extremely hard to overcome. Maybe that flexible schedule keeps you from daily basics like exercising and eating, or maybe it just causes you to work 12 hour days without realizing where the time has gone. Whichever camp you fall into, it’s important to make sure your day doesn’t become a black hole.
Set Your Work Hours Around Your Internal Clock
Are you a night owl or an early bird? The beauty of working from home is that you can work during your best hours. Your boss may require you to be available during certain times, but hopefully they give you enough flexibility to shift your schedule accordingly.
With those good hours in mind, set a time to start and end your designated work hours. If you can avoid it, try not to start working right when you wake up. Give yourself time to eat breakfast, shower and get dressed, just like you would if you were going to an office.
“Having responsibilities in the morning helps,” says Kevin Purdy, a staff writer at Wirecutter, a New York Times Company where most of the writers work from home. “I have to walk a dog, or the dog will … prove that I should have walked it. I’m generally the guy to make the coffee while the wife is at the gym, so that I can switch and go to the gym in the afternoon.” Schedule a few things before work to give yourself time to wake up.
Keeping this morning ritual also ensures you don’t wake up, work through breakfast and ignore personal hygiene. A similar ritual at the end of the day — like turning off your computer, leaving your office and locking your office doors — helps you stay away from work in the evening, too.
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