Tips for Managing Your Time and Keeping Your Sanity

Copyright JennKL Photography
Copyright JennKL Photography

When your job requires you to spend a majority of your time on the computer, it can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. You’re constantly writing, answering emails, social networking, etc which all require you to be sitting at a computer. Sometimes it feels like you never get a “real” day off when your work is on the ‘net, so it’s important to sit back once in a while and make sure that you’re keeping your sanity intact. Suggested methods include:

Make a schedule 

It sounds simple enough, but a lot of us forget to do it- I know I do. I’ll often have a mental schedule of what needs to be done over the next few days, but that leaves a lot of room for procrastination. I’ll think I can move one item back a day without realizing I’ve got twenty other things to do the next day. So write down a schedule. Look at the week ahead of you, and schedule realistic amounts of time to complete tasks. It helps keep you on track if you can see the big picture.

 Stick to your schedule

Again, it sounds simple, but it’s way too easy to say, “Screw it, I’ll do it later.” Stick to your schedule and you’ll feel much more relaxed at the end of the day knowing you marked off those few things, even if it’s only two items. Having a visual reinforcement that you’ve actually accomplished something will make you feel better about yourself.

Set limits

When you work on the computer, your work goes everywhere with you. Even if you don’t work on the computer, email is now available everywhere you go and it’s tempting to check it every five minutes, which is an easy way to stress yourself out. You happen to see an email requiring a speedy response while you’re out at a restaurant or grocery shopping, and before you know it, you’re working even when you’re supposed to be “taking a break,” and you forget to enjoy whatever you were doing before you got that email. Set limits! Enjoy what you’re doing and who you’re with instead of only being half present because part of your brain keeps checking your phone for email/Facebook/Twitter updates.

Designate time that is specifically for goofing off and relaxing

Working all the time will wear you out, and people, everyone needs some relaxation time. No matter what else you have on your to do list, designate an hour or so for time away from everything. No work, email, internet, etc. Use this time to nap, lie on the couch and watch TV, juggle midgets, etc. Whatever hobbies you have, do them. It’ll reinvigorate you mentally and physically.

 Work out

Speaking of being reinvigorated, make like Olivia-Newton-John and get physical. Working from a computer means you’re going to spend a lot of time on your butt, so make it a priority to get up at least every hour just for a quick stretch and walk around the room. Our bodies are not designed to be still for hours on end. If time allows, try to get in a half-hour work out every day, or every other day at the bare minimum. It will get the blood pumping to that tired brain of yours, and can provide a much needed break as well as some time to collect yourself and do some hardcore thinking while you’re hardcore sweating.

Try to say yes to everything, but know when to say no

Saying yes to as many work opportunities as you can will help you go outside your comfort zone and experience new things; however, you’re only one person- don’t overwhelm yourself. There will be times when you just don’t have enough time to say yes to that one thing. Don’t beat yourself up about it- it happens. You have to be willing to let a few things slide in order to keep your sanity and provide that hour of much needed down time.

These tips are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to staying sane while working from home, but they’ve helped me stay healthy and wholly un-crazy. Start small by integrating these few things into your work habits and stick to them. Then add more as you see what works for you, and incorporate your own self-help discoveries. Share some of your secrets in the comments below!