How to kick unhealthy work habits: quit your job. Ha! Just kidding. I love my job but I won’t pretend that it’s all glamorous at-home office and coffee shop social hour. No matter where you work, but especially from home, it’s easy to fall into a routine of bad, unhealthy habits. Even if you’re thinking in terms of your side projects or productivity in blogging part-time, these can sneak up on you. (Note, I tried to stay away from the basic “take a break when you need it” advice, as I’m sure you’ve heard it. Plus, if you have a huge workload or crazy schedule, lots of practical things don’t apply.) The trick is to beat the harmful habits for good, so you can succeed and enjoy doing it!
Unhealthy Work Habit #1
Checking email from bed each morning. No one wakes up 100% ready to greet the day. This can be unhealthy because we don’t give ourselves time to collect our thoughts, set an intention, or even eat breakfast before diving into work. My solution lately has been this: set a time you won’t check email until. For me it’s 8am. I have several inboxes on my phone, so it’s hard not to jump right in when those annoying notifications are there first thing. Usually when people are emailing before 8am, they want you to see it first thing. That does not mean it’s urgent or an emergency! If I don’t reply until 8 in my job, no one will be upset. Set a reasonable time that won’t make or break your work, but allows time between the alarm going off and beginning work.
Unhealthy Work Habit #2
Skipping meals. When I’m on a roll, I skip meals. I either totally forget or am at a cafe with only pastries and coffee. Enter the 4pm splitting headache and fatigue. Planning is key for people like us. To break this habit, have a plan the night before. Especially if you’re not a whip-up-something on the fly type of person. If I have a plan for breakfast, I’ll get up on time and make it. And if I know approximately what time I’d like to stop for lunch, I’ll make sure to leave the coffee shop workspace for a lunch cafe, or head home to prepare some sort of roasted veggie dish, which is about the only healthy thing I know to make. Oh and dinner–when I have a recipe on my mind, it makes me more eager to get work finished at a reasonable hour. :) Bottom line, have a plan!
Unhealthy Work Habit #3
Working until work is done, not until you are done. Earlier this year when I was working way too much, I used to hate reading these self-care posts that would say to create a normal work day for yourself as a freelancer, and sign off at a certain time in the evening. So I won’t tell you to abandon important deadlines if you really need to make them! That’s a luxury some people have, but not many business owners or freelancers or those in a demanding corporate position. But I will say that the work has to end at some point. Here’s how I broke this habit of never signing off, though: Now, around 4pm, I review my to-do list. I’m totally over ambitious so it’s usually halfway done. I’ll see what is still a MUST do before tomorrow, and highlight those. Then I’ll take a break for a walk or workout, and that evening I’ll finish those urgent tasks. Everything else waits until the next day.
It’s a compromise that often still means late nights, but not total burnout or completely unrealistic expectations.
Would you like more tips geared toward freelancers + those who work from home? Let us know if you find this helpful!
Notebook: c/o Hadron Epoch