Good habits for home working

Good habits for home working - siestaToday’s guest post is by Sebastien Powell of MessageBase, a telephone answering service that helps any freelancer or small business look like a pro (and was one of the supporters of The BIg Jelly). Seb works from home himself and knows how easy it is to fall into bad habits:

‘There is little doubt that working from home is about as good as it gets; freedom, flexibility and the possibility to build an environment to suit your exact needs are all part of a winning mix. However, like all good things too much can be detrimental. Over the last couple of months, I have been optimising my routine and thought I would share some tips with you.

1.) Stop working at least a couple of hours before going to bed

I was particularly bad at doing this, often working late then going straight to bed. The problem with doing this, is that when you hit the sack, your brain is still whizzing away (must email John tomorrow!) and the result is typically a restless or worse, sleepless night.

2.) Eat properly!

Working from home, you have the immense luxury of being able to prepare some real, nice food, rather than content yourself with a crappy, expensive sandwich from your local cafeteria. Eating good food is important for both your mental and physical wellbeing, so make sure you take full advantage of access to your fridge and kitchen.

3.) Have a siesta

There’s a reason why the Spanish are so efficient. Taking a short 30 minute nap during the day, can help you feel refreshed and reinvigorated, even if you’re just closing your eyes (although make sure you don’t oversleep).

4.) Take regular breaks

This is important from both from a mental and physical perspective. Taking a break allows you to clear your mind and helps prevent ‘sedentary worker syndrome’ (i.e. stiff neck, migraines and the like). On a sunny day like this, take some time out for a short walk outside.

5.) Exercise is important too

Sitting at your desk all day may be tiring mentally, but you also need to think about exerting yourself physically. I try to go for a morning jog on a regular basis, followed by a yoga class on Thursday afternoons and will often go bouldering a couple of evenings a week. You don’t have to wait for the weekend to do some sport!

Whenever you’re doing any of these things and don’t want to be disturbed by clients or suppliers, you can use a phone answering service, to divert your phone calls to a virtual receptionist who will take care of answering and handling your calls for you (so if you’re worried about missing out on important calls, don’t be – there are solutions out there).

Following these simple tips can hopefully help you, as it did me, to find a healthy balance when working from home. Doing so will not only make you feel better but will also enable you to be far more productive; a sensible long-term investment to make.

Remember, working from home is a luxury so make sure you keep it that way.

Posted in: Routine

12 Comments on "Good habits for home working"

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  1. Tess says:

    Thank you for these tips. As a freelance translator I spend most of my time working form home. I am also a mom of two school aged children and working from home is extremely helpful in order to be able to work around their schedules and play mom-taxi in the afternoons. This is probably why I agree with tip number 1, but have a hard time following it, since evening work time is common due to the fact that I am not working much between 3 and 8, while helping my children after school and driving them to different activities. I also do not mind working a bit in the evening if that means that I can go for a run with my dog during lunch.

    • judy says:

      Hi Tess, great to hear from you! I can see that with 2 children you need to be ultra-flexible with your schedule and fit in work whenever you can. I would imagine that by bedtime you have no trouble switching off after another hectic day!

  2. Corrina Gordon-Barnes says:

    Hear hear to point #3 – I couldn’t be without my daily nap 🙂

    Also on point #4 I recommend the RSI Guard programme. It’s a free application in its trial version and freezes your computer at various intervals, showing stretches you can do. It’s made a big difference for my arms and I’m much more creative when I take regular brain breaks too.

    Thanks,
    Corrina Gordon-Barnes

    • judy says:

      I love naps, too, Corrina. It’s amazing what the brain can come up with as you sleep 🙂
      Thanks for the tip about the free programme. I’m sure lots of home workers get on a roll and forget to take as many breaks as they need.

  3. Corrina Gordon-Barnes says:

    The topic is obviously in the air as I was inspired to write this blog post all about effective home-working:

    http://youinspireme.co.uk/2011/why-breaking-the-rules-hurts-so-much/

    p.s. Going to CamJelly for first time tomorrow – looking forward! 🙂

    • judy says:

      Lovely post, Corrina. At least there’s a benefit in breaking our own rules in that we realise just how valuable they are!

      How did you get on at Cam Jelly?

  4. Roberto says:

    Point #3 Do you REALLY mean to say the Spanish are efficient? First time I ever heard that!

  5. Jacquelyn says:

    Eating properly is definitely one that I need to work on. I totally see myself skipping breakfast and working with a sandwich on my desk…not a good way to separate me work time with everything else.

    And i really didn’t think it was a problem until reading this article. Thank you!
    Jacquelyn

    • judy says:

      I’ve always done that too, Jacquelyn, but now I’ve been advised I’ll absorb more vitamins and minerals from my food if I eat away from the computer in less of a hurry, so I need to work on it too. A habit that can be hard to break…

  6. Stu says:

    Absolutely agree with a number of the points made. Make sure when at your desk you have it set up ergonomically and get out and about each day. Can be extremely unhealthy to sit in a room at a desk all day with little to no exercise! Make it a habit

    • judy says:

      Going out at least once a day is one of my home working principles, Stu, but occasionally I don’t, maybe because of bad weather, and inevitably end up regretting it.

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