The Kat Life

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Katherine Moon
Katherine Isabella Moon
Meow, hello there, my name is Katherine, but you can call me Kat; because I basically am a cat. Anyways, I am a 26-year-old, lifestyle blogger, with an INFP-T personality type, from the United States. I love fashion, the color pink, cats, dogs, and spending all my time on my computer. I'm often seen wearing cat ears headbands.
The Kat Life
The Kat Life

how I'm choosing to live my best life

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Balancing Work & Play When Working From Home

Working from home
Photo courtesy of Content Pixie on Unsplash

One of my favorite things about working from home, and basically being my own boss, is being able to work at my own pace and choose my own hours. Not only that, but I also love having control over what I work on, how I work, and when I work on specific projects. I could go on and on about everything that I love about doing my work from home, and even more so being my own boss. However, some of my favorite things about working from home can also become its downfall if I'm not careful, as it can be easy to lose the balance between work and play, which is actually a mood-killing habit for me. So that being said, it's easy for me to either find myself working way too much, with almost no breaks, or not doing any work at all and not getting anything done. And both ends of the spectrum are equally stressful.

Overworking myself, to the point I'm not taking breaks and working late into the night, is stressful for reasons that I am sure I don't need to elaborate on. Procrastinating and blowing off my to-do list is also stressful because of that nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I should be working on something. Hence why not having a balance between work and play tends to kill my mood and why it's crucial to have a balance between work and play, no matter how much you might enjoy your work. Or no matter how much you might not feel like working, let's be honest. It's also necessary to find a way to create a clear separation between work and play when you work from home. Even (and especially) if your work is also your also hobby, and usually feels more like play than work.

Balancing Work & Play When Working From Home

Have a consistent daily routine

Holding a cup of tea in the morning
Photo courtesy of Kira Auf Der Heide on Unsplash

First and foremost, even when you're working from home, it's still crucial to have a consistent daily routine. Sure, you can be a bit more flexible with your daily routine than you would if you're going to an office, but it's necessary to have some consistency to each day, rather than just totally winging it every day. Your routine doesn't have to be super elaborate. As a matter of fact, the simpler your daily ritual is, the better, as you want something that you can realistically stick to without getting overwhelmed. It's also not a bad idea to keep your routine flexible and adaptable, just because sometimes life happens and can shake up your routine a bit. But one of the great things about working from home is the fact that you can be very flexible with your schedule, and you can make adjustments to your day as needed.

At the very least, I'd say to have a consistent morning and evening routine and try to wake up and go to bed around the same time every day. It's also not a bad idea to set a time to start and to stop working. That way, you'll know when it's time to focus and be productive, and when it's time to give yourself a break and wind down.

Dress for success

Dressing for success
Photo courtesy of Ylanite Koppens on Pexels

Although you totally can work from home in your pajamas, and no one can say anything to you about it (unless you're in a video conference), I personally feel that it's better to get out of your loungewear and dress for success. As small as it may seem, I have actually found that it actually makes a pretty significant difference in how motivated I am to get shit done, and it creates a clear separation between working and relaxing. Plus, I have found time and time again that the better I look, the better I feel, and the better that I'm feeling, the more motivated and productive I am. So seriously, even if no one else is going to see you all day, put a little bit of effort into your appearance for yourself.

You don't have to get super glammed up, although you can if you want to. It's ultimately up to you what you choose to wear, as long as what you're wearing makes you feel motivated and happy. I actually find that wearing cute athleisure often does the trick for me, and still allows me to be comfortable throughout the day if I don't feel like wearing jeans. Also, remember, you can always change back into your pajamas once you're done working for the day. Perhaps you actually should so you know that it's time to wind down for the day and step away from your work.

Plan out what you're going to work on

Planning your day or week for successful week working from home
Photo courtesy of STIL on Unsplash

More often than not, it's a lot easier to be productive and get stuff done if you have some sort of a game plan and have an idea of what you want to achieve during the day. It's actually a part of my morning routine to plan out what I want to work on during the day and write down what I want to accomplish, whether it's household chores, creating content, or anything else. Remember to be realistic about what you can actually get done during the day, and don't overwhelm yourself with a long list of tasks that you know you likely won't be able to complete. If there are a lot of things that you'd like to get done, perhaps you could schedule them throughout the week, and have your to-do list already set for almost the whole week. But as far as your creating your to-do list for the day goes, keep your list small and prioritize what's most important that day, even if that means you only end up with one item on your to-do list. Although you may find it helpful to break down large tasks into smaller tasks on your to-do list and check off those mini-tasks as you go. That way, you can see just how much you accomplished during the day, even if you've been working on one project all throughout the day.

You may also find it beneficial to try to time-block your tasks if you have a lot of different things that you want or need to get done throughout the day. That way, it's easier to manage the time that you put into each task, and you can make sure that you actually get to all of the tasks on your to-do list without working too late into the day or night. It can also help prevent you from procrastinating if you have a solid plan of what you want to get done and when you're going to start it, as well as how long you're going to work on it. Remember to be flexible when planning out your workday, in case something comes up or a task takes longer than expected, but try to stick to your plan as much as possible. But also, don't be afraid to bump some projects to the next day, or even eliminate less important ones, if you find yourself needing to put a bit more time into something important to you.

Minimize distractions while working

Working from home with minimal distractions
Photo courtesy of cottonbro on Pexels

Let's be real, our homes are full of distractions, and when we're working from home, there generally isn't anyone else around to stop us from getting off task. No one is going to tell you to stop scrolling Facebook and get back to work, nor will they force you to quit watching Netflix and focus on what you're doing. There are no immediate consequences for playing games on your phone for over an hour or procrastinating on your to-do list, aside from that nagging feeling that you should be doing whatever it is you need to do. When you're working from home, it's entirely up to you to stay on task and keep yourself from getting distracted. So if you know you get distracted easily, it's not a bad idea to take the necessary steps to help eliminate some of those distractions. Turn the TV off, enable "do not disturb" mode on your phone, temporarily block distracting websites and apps if you have to, find ways to minimize distractions and stay on task. Create a distraction-free environment that allows you to focus on getting stuff done.

On the flip side of that, when it's time to rest, create a work-free environment that allows you to focus on relaxing. Save and close out anything that you're working on, don't read or respond to work-related emails or messages, don't unnecessarily check up on anything related to your work. Set your work aside, and focus on things that bring you joy and help you unwind. Even if your job also happens to be your hobby, it's not a bad idea to set it aside and focus on other hobbies and interests. That way, you won't burn yourself out or start to resent it.

Schedule in breaks

Break time
Photo courtesy of Melinda Gimple on Unsplash

As someone who loves to be productive, it's easy for me to find myself neglecting to take breaks, and even justifying it, despite knowing that I'm actually less productive when I don't give myself the mental breaks that I need. So to combat the temptation to work until I burn myself out, I've found that it's highly beneficial to schedule a few breaks into your day. They don't have to be very long. Sometimes even just giving yourself 5 minutes every one to two hours to go to the restroom, refill your water bottle, and stretch your legs a little bit is enough. But personally, I like to take an hour-long break around 1:00 PM every day to grab some lunch and watch a few YouTube videos of my choosing. It's entirely up to you what you choose to do with your break, just as long as it has nothing to do with your work, and that you're able to stop doing it once it's time to get back to work, with no excuses.

Set a strict stopping point

Office space
Photo courtesy of Bench Accounting on Unsplash

When I first began aiming to make my hobby my work, I didn't realize how important it was to step away from my work for the day. Not only does it feel great to be super productive, but I'm enjoying myself while I'm working. I would ask myself, why would I stop when I'm getting a lot of shit done and enjoying myself at the same time? But then I burned myself out within the first three months of blogging. It started to get to me how it felt like I had no time for anything other than blogging, and I never got to do anything else that I wanted to do or give any of my other hobbies any attention. I was working on my blog all day and late into the night. And I wasn't even getting much done, so I didn't have much to show for those long days spent working on content. Don't get me wrong, I love creating content, but there are other things that I enjoy as well, like playing The Sims, reading, drawing, and watching my favorite shows, just to name a few, and I need to have the time for these things as well.

Then, one day it occurred to me that if I want to treat blogging like a job, that perhaps a part of it would be setting reasonable hours for myself to work. This includes not only a set time to start working but a set time to stop working and unwind for the day. Personally, I like to try to start winding down around 5:00 PM, but I will allow myself to work until 6:00 PM if I'm almost done with a specific task that I know that I can finish within an hour. I'm not about to say that a little bit of overtime is a bad thing, but try not to overdo it or make a daily habit out of it. Perhaps, it could help to create a little routine for the end of your workday of saving your work and closing anything to do with work, changing into comfy clothes, and maybe even grabbing a little snack; or whatever may help you to let your brain know it's time to wind down.

There are a lot of great things about working from home. As an introvert, I love the fact that no one can really bother me while I'm doing my work. I also love being able to feel relaxed while I work and even listen to some music or an ASMR video while I work. Perhaps my favorite thing about working from home, however, is the flexibility to decide how to go about my workday. I love being able to choose to do a little more on days where I'm feeling super productive, but also being able to slow it down when I'm not feeling my best. That being said, it's crucial to make sure you're not overworking yourself or slacking off too much when you're working from home, which does require quite a bit of self-discipline. You don't want to be slacking off when you should be focusing on your work, but you also don't want to work when you should be relaxing and focusing on self-care.

If you work from home, or you've suddenly found yourself working from home because of the quarantine, I'd love to hear some of your tips for how you maintain a balance between your work-life and home-life balance, as well as how you keep them separate. I'd also love to hear how you stay focused while you're working from home, as well as some of your favorite ways to wind down after a long day of working from home.

Balancing Work & Play When Working From Home
Thank you for reading, and I hope the rest of your day is wonderful!
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