At oDesk headquarters in Menlo Park, California, every Tuesday is a WFHT, so we know that working from home can be a liberating experience. However, for some, the time at home may create habits that lead to an unhealthy way of life. Here are some tips to keep yourself sane, social and successful!
Don't let your laptop become your best friend. Let's face it, you don't have to work from home to be a laptop addict, but with this line of work, the risks are greater than normal. To keep yourself out of laptop-abuse rehab, watch TV with nothing on your lap, don't take your laptop to bed with you, pick up the phone next time you need someone instead of e-mailing them (especially if they are a friend), and give yourself at least one completely computer-free day a week. You'll be surprised how much you miss your little piece of plastic, with it's cute little keyboard and shiny screen, but trust us, this is for your own good. (We promise.)
Don't spend too much time alone. Of course, we all have different needs for social interaction, but no one should be alone all or even most of the time. So, if you haven't spoken out loud in the last 24 hours, you need to pick up the phone or run to your nearest coffee shop and strike up a conversation with someone. If you live with family or roommates, you may think you're immune to loneliness, but you're not. Make sure you're talking to and meeting with other people (who don't live with you) on a regular basis. It's important to have real people in your life. (Sorry, Facebook doesn't count!) Make sure your community extends past your front door.
Don't spend too much time at home. Speaking of your front door, make sure you are getting out of it. Often. Get outside once a day, drive somewhere every other day. Go to the park, walk around a mall, eat dinner out, work at a library -- just spend time away from your four walls, preferably in the sunlight. If you can begin to think of sunlight and fresh air as health supplements (because they are!), you might be more likely to get your daily dose. (If you are a stay-at-home parent with little ones and freelancing or consulting, this can be especially hard to do, because you are probably exhausted. But it's as important for your kids to get out of the house as it is for you.)
WFHT Recommended Reading
"Even Lone Wolves Need a Pack" from Bizzia
"How to Overcomee Loneliness When You Work From Home" from Spark Plugging
"7 Tips for Freelance Writers" (hint: these aren't just for writers) from Hub Pages
"Overcoming Loneliness" from Freelance Folder
"Tips for Dealing With Home-Office Isolation" from Consultant Journal
Much like a divorced marriage counselor, my ability to dish out advice is not an indicator of my ability to implement it. However, having worked from home for over a decade, I've learned what works and what just creates more work.