This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
More flexibility, no commute, and the ability to live where you want — the benefits of remote work can be truly life-changing for those looking for a better work-life balance. But working at home has its downsides, too. When your “commute” only involves walking from your bedroom to your workspace, and your lunch “break” is a quick rummage in the refrigerator, the days can start to feel monotonous.
And if you’re not careful, that feeling of monotony can turn into fatigue, disengagement, and burnout.
It’s clear that remote work is here to stay, so how do you work from home day in and day out without feeling like you’re living at work, rather than working where you live? Here’s how you can feel energized, inspired, and engaged while working from home.
1. Change Your Workspace
When you’re working in a company office, you have your workspace, but you also have the rest of the office to wander about. When your brain needs a refresh, it’s easy to walk around and visit with colleagues or head to the break room for a quick snack.
At home, your office is usually a small room (or closet!) in your house — where other family members may be working or doing online school. This can make it challenging to find space when you need a change of scenery throughout the day. When boredom sets in, consider switching up your workspace for a couple of days a week. Whether you head to the backyard, hotspot it at a park, or simply trade offices with your spouse, the new work digs will help you feel revitalized.
And don’t forget to decorate your workspace with colors and items that make you feel comfortable, inspired, and happy. Framed photos, fun desk accessories, and office houseplants can all improve your energy and mood.
2. Break Up Your Day
It’s easy to plow through your day without taking breaks when working remotely, but this will only contribute to your feelings of malaise and monotony — not to mention stress. To help divide up your day, schedule a mandatory daily lunch break away from your computer.
While you’re at it, implement the 50/10 rule and give yourself a 10-minute, screen-free tech break for every 50 minutes of focused work time (or 25/5 if that works better for you). Letting yourself recharge with mini-breaks throughout the day will keep you feeling energized and ready to take on the next task.
3. Vary Your Routine
In many ways, a structured routine is essential for setting and maintaining work-from-home boundaries. However, too much routine can make your days in your home office feel endless and repetitive.
You can still keep your daily office hours and end your remote workday with a routine, but switching up even the smallest things can make your days feel fresh instead of fatigued. Do you usually make coffee at home every morning? Head out for a coffee in the middle of the week instead! Are your lunches the same sandwiches Monday-Friday? Chef up a hot, delicious new creation!
Even switching up your exercise routine can breathe new life into your workday. Trade your usual evening walk for a refreshing midday run, or schedule an online yoga class at the end of the day to give you something to look forward to.
4. Engage Your Senses
When you’re super-focused on the task at hand and buried in work-related projects, your world shrinks down to exactly what’s in front of you. This ability to hone in on your work is crucial for your productivity, but the narrow focus can also make you feel drained and exhausted when you’re working by yourself in your home office.
Engaging all of your senses throughout your workday boosts your mood, reduces anxiety, and inspires your work. Pick different senses to focus on throughout the day to keep you feeling energized. Perhaps you listen to a favorite music album while you work on your morning tasks, followed by an hour of an energizing essential oil diffusion (try peppermint or sweet orange!). A tasty afternoon treat and a cozy blanket can help you wrap up your workday feeling calm and soothed.
Switch It Up
If we don’t intentionally breathe new life into our everyday tasks, anything can start to feel monotonous and boring — including remote work. By giving yourself breaks, switching up some of your regular routines, and letting your senses lead the way, you can keep yourself feeling energized and engaged while you work from home.
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