One of the greatest opportunities that come with being an entrepreneur is the freedom to choose where you work. For many business owners, this will mean that their home becomes a multi-functional space; a space for working, relaxing and entertaining.
As the world enters a period of global uncertainty, many of us will be left with no choice but to work like an entrepreneur. As the lectures are cancelled, the office doors close and we slowly lose our dining room tables to a mountain of pens, notebooks and unfinished cups of coffee, it is easy to lose a sense of normality.
Regardless of whether you are forced to self-isolate as a result of a freak virus or working at home is standard procedure in your role as a business owner, following these practical tips could help to protect both your physical and mental health:
Define clear working/leisure boundaries – When all of your activities are happening under one roof, it’s easy for them all to blend into one. It’s important that there are clear distinctions between where you work and where you play i.e. try to prevent using your sofa as a workspace and attempt to reserve it for relaxation time. Similarly, it could be wise to allocate a space in your home which is solely for working. By doing this, you are giving yourself the option to move away from that ‘working zone’ at the end of the day.
Have a set routine – The home environment naturally offers many distractions. Whether you’re lured by Netflix or you cannot resist diving into the fridge every five minutes, it may feel like the whole house is against you. But, having a set routine with a start, finish and lunch break can offer a structure which allows you the freedom to move away from work and equally encourages you to get your head down when required.
Get dressed – Your morning prep can play a large role in setting the tone for the rest of the day. Although it may be tempting to roll straight out of bed and onto your laptop, you may actually be more productive if you prepare yourself for the day ahead. This doesn’t mean that you need to wear your Sunday best, but freshening up and getting out of your pyjamas could make a significant difference to your mindset.
Write a list of to-do’s and break work into small manageable chunks – If you are struggling to focus and your workload seems impossible, it could be wise to break large projects into manageable tasks. If you find yourself procrastinating, set a timer on your phone and focus on the task in hand until it finishes – and stick to it!
Check-in regularly with your team – Alternative working conditions may lead to feelings of disconnection from your colleagues. Technology enables you to connect with others when face-to-face interaction is limited. Try setting up regular calls with your colleagues and classmates (or anyone!), these don’t have to be work-related, just catch up and have your daily coffee together.
Move your body – It is extremely easy to slip into a sedentary way of living when working at home. Exercise can offer many benefits which stretch far beyond physical gains, staying active can have significant benefits for mental health and productivity. The internet offers plentiful opportunities to get active from the comfort of your own home, from group yoga to HIIT. But, if those options seem too strenuous, take plenty of breaks, get out of your chair and move around your house often, even walking up and down the stairs could be all you need to refresh and refocus your mind.
Shifting away from your usual working style can be slightly daunting at first, particularly when it has been forced upon you as opposed to being a conscious choice. Take your time to adjust and try not to beat yourself up if it doesn’t feel ‘normal’ straight away. We all work differently and finding out what works best for you is vital.