Can I just say right away, I’d love if people stopped putting Work in front of Life when we write or talk about it?
I know it’s such a small detail, but I feel like subconsciously we do that because we actually put work in front of life in our minds. Even I do it, far too often in fact.
It should really be “Life Work” not “Work Life.”
Work to live. Don’t live to work!
I know that one of the first things I think of when I wake up in the morning is work.. sometimes I’m barely out of bed before I’m checking email on my phone. It’s a nasty habit, but hard to break when work is 20 feet away..
When I worked in an office I noticed I wouldn’t really start thinking about work until part way into my drive. But as freelancers, we usually don’t drive to work unless you’re real disciplined and work from somewhere like Starbucks or a Coworking space.
Not all of us do that though or even have access to those things. I did when I lived in Baltimore, but now that I live in Monterey there are no Coworking spaces. Plenty of coffee shops, but they are generally buzzing with tourists and can be a bit of a distraction if I’m not in the right mindset or forget my earbuds.
So here’s a few tips I try to employ as often as possible.
1. Get Dressed
No, not gym shorts and slip on shoes. I mean really dressed. As if you were going somewhere and had to look at least half presentable.
You don’t have to get all suit and tie on me, but if you normally work in whatever is closest (or maybe just your underwear? if so, please don’t let us know) than try something different to break your routine a bit.
You would be surprised how much more effective you could be by just putting on a real pair of shoes.
2. Leave Home
Being locked in an office all the time just gets gloomy, I don’t care how many windows you have or how much sunshine is coming through, you’re still boxed in by 4 walls and the comforts of home.
It’s so easy to end up on the couch watching Family Guy.. and before you know it 4 hours have passed and you haven’t done jack shit.
And if you’re not going to work you might as well get outside and get some fresh air. Try going for a walk or hell just hanging outside can help rejuve you. Besides, sitting all day just plain sucks.
If all else fails, go out for lunch. At least it’s not the usual view your used to.
3. Actually Go To Work
Tourists be damned I still make a point once or twice a week to work out of a coffee shop. Yes, it can be noisy, but earbuds do wonders.
And I don’t know about you but just being around the smell of fresh ground coffee wakes me up and puts me in a productive mood.
Plus its good to be around people and interact. Something we often lack in general by working at home.
4. Take a Mid-day Break
Don’t forget that you run a business and in that business you’re allowed to set whatever rules you want.
Want to take a 2 hour lunch? Sure, who is going to say otherwise?
Feel like going to a park or the beach because its so nice out? Go for it. Enjoy you life, because the work isn’t going anywhere. It will still be there when you decide to start working again.
5. Run Errands
Need to do a few things outside of work related stuff? Hell yeah, running errands while everyone is at work is awesome. No lines and lots of front row parking!
I don’t have a washer or dryer at home so I will often do my laundry in the middle of the week to break things up and help me unplug from work for a bit.
Folding clothes is surprisingly relaxing.. you don’t really have to use much brainpower for it, so its ok to zone out.
A Common Thread
Hopefully you picked up on the common thread between most of these tips? Get out your work area. Change it up. Get outside and get some sun on your face.