Working from home can be amazing—until you realize that you haven’t spoken to a real human all day! Even if you love the freedom that comes with being able to work where and how you want, you probably also know the pitfalls a little too well. From the isolation to the distraction, we’ve been there, too! That’s why we’re sharing our stay-sane checklist to help you make the most of your at-home office hours and leave you with enough energy for the other parts of your life, as well.

Create a commute

We know, you technically don’t have one. Avoiding morning traffic is one of the nicest parts of working from home. But not having a commute also means a more sedentary start to the day, less time outdoors, and an unsettled morning routine. To combat this, design a “commute” you’ll really enjoy: take the dog for a brisk morning walk, get coffee from a nearby cafe, or even just “commute” to the kitchen for a leisurely breakfast and some news-reading before settling into your work routine.

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Get dressed for the day

Before you settle into your workday, get dressed in clothing you’d feel good about leaving the house in. Whether that’s a suit or sweatpants is up to you, but staying in your PJs all day can kill your motivation to do things that will help your productivity, like make a quick run to the print shop or take an impromptu 10-minute walk.

Become a to-do list devotee

At home, anything can become a distraction: that pile of clothes that needs washing, the kitchen fridge that needs cleaning, or that stack of magazines that’s begging to be read. To keep yourself focused and productive, find a to-do list method that works for you, and then stick to it. Try the Bullet Journal method or go digital with a to-do list app like Todoist or Things.

Bookmark a few workout videos on YouTube

If you didn’t have time to hit the gym over lunch back when you were working in an office, you probably won’t have time to do it at home, either. (You are working, after all). But you can give your mind a break and re-energize your body by having a few go-to exercise YouTube videos bookmarked. Got 7 minutes? Feel like unleashing your inner Beyonce? Need to release some stress with a quick yoga routine? YouTube’s your gym.

Install a website blocker

Taking short breaks throughout the day is a great way to avoid burnout and stay productive. But make sure those social media breaks are just that: breaks. When you work from home, there’s no one to hide your Twitter scrolling from, so install an extension that sets time limits on when and for how long you can use distracting websites, whether it’s news or social media. Extensions like Strict Workflow and StayFocused can keep you accountable and productive.

Take a shower in the middle of the day

After all, why not? To melt away stress, hop in a hot shower and let your muscles and mind relax. Or for an energizing, mood-boosting effect, research suggests that a cold shower is just the thing. Whether you go hot or cold, spending a few minutes away from your work can help ideas marinate and solutions to problems rise to the top of your mind while you think about other things.

Send a funny GIF

One of the most common pitfalls of working remotely is the lack of human interaction. Sure, it may be easier to get into the flow with nobody around to interrupt or distract you, but all of those hours spent alone can take their toll on your wellbeing. So stay in touch with coworkers, or even just friends, during the day by sending a funny GIF, meme, or story…just because. Platforms like Gchat, Slack, and Skype are great for messaging back and forth throughout the workday and can make you feel like you’re all in it together.

Hide your computer when the workday is over

When you work from home, the workday is never really over. After all, there are always a few more emails you could sneak in or a couple more loose ends you could tie up before bedtime. Banish that feeling by keeping your computer out of sight after closing time. If you work on a laptop, place it in a drawer. Have a desktop computer? Cover it with a scarf or light blanket at the end of the day, and mentally check out of the “office”—after all, you’ve worked hard today. Time to clock out.

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Irena Ashcraft

Irena Ashcraft

Irena Ashcraft is a freelance writer who helps brands connect with their biggest fans in ways that are fresh, relatable, and fun. She loves people, tech, education, and the creative hustle.

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