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WORK FROM HOME STRESS: How To Stay Productive Without Losing Your Mind

Most of us have been working from home for the better part of one year, work from home stress is piling up and if you haven’t lost your mind yet, you're sitting real close to the edge. At first what seemed like heaven, not having to deal the chaos of commuting to work, not worrying about getting ready and avoiding all the coworkers you tolerate for the sake of peace quickly became a seemingly never ending headache. Working from not so ideal spots in your cramped apartment like the dining room table, kitchen island or couch, wishing you did have somewhere to go which required wearing pants (a common courtesy to others of course), realizing just how needy your cat really is and your colleagues giving you things to do at 4:55pm only because they know you’re at home, whereas before they would wait until the next day because you finish work at 5pm. Now it just feels like all you do is work, order groceries online and watch Netflix. The stress of working from home makes you feel unmotivated, unproductive and lazy because you’re tired of looking at your four walls all day. So how do you stay productive and get out of that work from home stressful rut you’re in?

CREATE A ROUTINE………and try to stick to it! 

This doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be as simple as making sure you get up at the same time every day. That first hour or two before you actually start doing work should be dedicated to your self care and family.

  • Have a healthy breakfast
  • Listen to an audiobook
  • Meditate
  • Workout

Do whatever as long as it is setting up your day so that you feel good physically, mentally and emotionally. The way you start your day, sets the tone for the rest of it.

 

CHANGE YOUR CLOTHES, please.

The first two months of the lockdown, I wore my pajamas every day. If you’re still doing this, it’s time to stop. Dress like you are going to meet a new client. Do your hair, makeup and dress for success.

 

Michael Kraus, a professor at the Yale School of Management, has studied the connection between clothing and financial advantage in negotiations. In a 2014 study, he paired men in suits against peers in sweatpants and flip-flops in a mock real-estate sale negotiation. The men in suits negotiated, on average, about 10 percent more profit than their casually dressed counterparts.

 

Now I know you’re thinking, “well Sarah I’m working from home, no one is going to see me, what difference does it make?" A HUGE DIFFERENCE actually! Because YOU feel more confident, YOU feel more determined and productive instead of feeling sluggish or chill, and we act the way we feel.

TAKE REGULAR BREAKS

You will be tempted to just work straight through the day, don’t do it. Make sure you are taking regular breaks. If you haven’t moved in two hours, GET UP AND MOVE AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER. To combat work from home stress you need to give your body and mind a break. Go for a walk or sit on your balcony without your phone and just take in some fresh air. When you come back from your break you will feel refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your work.

 

REMEMBER YOU STILL HAVE A LIFE

This one is important because although there isn’t much to do socially outside right now doesn’t mean you should be working from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep. Connect with friends and family via Zoom, read none work related literature, tap into your creative side, start a DIY project anything. Just make sure that your life is more than work and I promise when you are working you will feel more productive and less stressed because you allowed yourself to have fun too.

NO MORE CRAZY TO DO LISTS 

The last year has changed up how I work and live my life drastically, I no longer make massive to do lists and try to check off as much things in a day as I can. Instead I choose three key tasks that will move me closer to achieving my bigger yearly goals and when I complete them I evaluate my energy levels mentally, physically and emotionally to determine if I want to do anything else for the day (workwise). If my intuition says no I stop for the day and tackle the next 3 things tomorrow. We live in a society feels that this is actually counterproductive. If you have time to do more than you should do more. Going from one stress filled, busy day to the next, feeling exhausted and depleted by the end is a sign that you are winning. When it fact it is actually an early warning sign of your inevitable mental or physical break down. Working from home takes discipline and work from home stress can creep up on you really quickly, leaving you in an unproductive state that feels like you can never escape. It will have you hating the work you use to love. Burn out is real. So which steps are you going to start implementing?

 

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