Things aren’t always as they appear when you’re working from home.
Elizabeth Pich, half of the team behind War and Peas, created this comic for Toggl.
Working from home may seem like the perfect solution to many of your workplace woes, but one significant downside is how easily work time bleeds into home time. Living rooms become work rooms, and the temptation of working in the bedroom is often too much to resist.
Setting aside a dedicated space for work can be a solution. However, the question of mental space remains. Work isn’t only the time you spend typing away on a laptop.
The time you spend thinking about your work is also, in its own way, a form of work; you’re expending your time and emotional energy on something other than your personal needs. It just so happens that the Toggl time tracker is great for tracking time worked and not worked (you can even include an entry for time spent thinking about work).
The bottom line is that everyone needs and deserves a break to let their mind wander.
That’s why physically leaving your house when you work from home is crucial. Being a cooped-up remote worker is simple, but convincing yourself that the outside world is worth visiting can be difficult, especially when all the comforts of home are always within reach.
When you do venture out, mute or delete any work-related applications from your phone. It’s not an actual break if you’re checking your email or responding to messages, no matter how quickly you’re able to do it. Tip: You can also get Toggl for your mobile device to keep yourself accountable and ensure that you’re not sneaking five minutes or 15 during your “breaks” to answer some “urgent” emails!
You should also monitor your thinking patterns. Are there moments when your mind wanders to tasks you need to complete or a message your coworker sent? Acknowledge those thoughts and consider how they make you feel. Are you stressed by incomplete tasks? When you start thinking about them, look around you. Think about your surroundings, take a deep breath of air, and consider the things within your field of view.
Too often, we focus on a hypothetical future rather than the present. If the thoughts keep reappearing after you reposition your thinking, write them down. Keeping a record of them will help your brain relax.
Not ready to start working again?
You’re in luck! We’ve got even more comics! If you’re a frequent traveler, you may want to check out our guide to using lifehacking (a.k.a. common sense) to make your airport experience 250% more pleasant. We’ve also used dinosaurs to explain the different issues freelancers deal with when working with clients.
We’ve also done a piece about how the world might be a little different if it were created by a programmer. If that sort of thing is your jam, you may also enjoy The Unicorn Startup Simulator–a highly realistic, gravely immoral game about life in the gritty startup scene of Silicon Valley.
And finally, if you’re intrigued by the idea of timing your breaks as well as your tasks, check out our time tracker. We have free and paid options, options for individuals and teams, but the basic idea remains the same: spend less time on work and more time doing what you love!