Admitting that things are not going well is the hardest thing when you have presented externally that you are “living your best life”. I actually needed some intervention from my wife to show me what I couldn’t see for myself. Here are the recommendations I can share with any new business owner or professional now working from home for the long haul:
Create a Work Space: I neglected this and sat on my couch for a year. My osteopath put a stop to this fairly quickly and I eventually found a space to set up an ergonomically sustainable workplace. This helped both my back and blurring my work and life.
Schedule Work Hours: This sounds stupid, but it helped me to avoid working longer hours than necessary. I can now work shorter hours because I know that I get through more in less time than before. That might be 9 – 2pm as an example. It provides focus to get things done, but also increases “work-life harmony” when I can spend from 2 – 4pm with my son and not think about work.
Stop Every 1-2 Hours: Since you have less distractions, you need to have a real break every 1-2 hours and walk around. It’s vital for both your body and your mental freshness.
Vary Your Weekly Routines: This might seem to contradict my first point, but it’s important to also revel in the freedom and novelty that you now have (where you can in these circumstances, of course). Choose a day in advance each week where you block out your diary to go for a long walk, or something that is not your typical routine.
Find at Least 3 Hrs Each Week Just for Yourself: This is something I have recently implemented. It needs to be a deliberately selfish process of giving back to yourself and cannot be doing cleaning or other home duties and tasks like grocery shopping.
Reward Yourself: Seek “work-life harmony” over the longer term – its not a race. You can still work hard and well from home and you should reward yourself for those achievements in equal measure.
Finally, It took me more than 2 years to work all of this out for myself. It remains an ongoing balancing act, especially with a growing business and a young family. So it’s important to have and draw on a support network of others on a similar path, who you can talk to about the highs, lows and learnings of this journey.