Have a designated area.
Creating a spot that is solely for work is especially important in separating the fine line between work and life when you work from home. It doesn’t need to be a fancy home office. It just needs to be a space that you don’t use for another purpose. Why? It’s all about the vibes (whether you’re a person who believes in vibes or not). At home, your body is conditioned to act certain ways in certain spaces (i.e. sleeping when you’re in your bedroom). If you have the space, it’s wise to invest in a desk—the simplest way to create a designated working area. When you’re at your desk, you work, when you step away, you’re at home. Otherwise, those lines get blurred and the next thing you know you’re working in your kitchen.
When you’re at home, you’re surrounded by comforts you wouldn’t usually have at work—a comfy couch to nap on, your favorite snacks (unlimited), and no one hovering over your shoulder—requiring discipline that not many people have. But there’s hope. It’s called block scheduling. It’s simple and low-tech: keep a calendar, paper or digital, and set time blocks on your calendar to do specific tasks. The hardest part? Actually forcing yourself to do the tasks during the time blocks. The solution? Work in 15-minute increments. Set a timer, work until it goes off, then get up, and reward yourself with a lap or two around your space or get some sunshine with your dog before getting back to it.
My favorite way of tracking tasks and time is with Toggl. Toggl is also incredibly useful for gauging your productivity – it offers daily, weekly and monthly reports and when something that usually takes me 15 minutes is suddenly taking me an hour I know that I’ve over-extended myself, have been working too much or for too long, and need to take time off away from my computer.