A Remote Worker’s Guide to Balancing Home and Work
Balancing your home and career can be a challenge for any employee, especially when you live and work in the same space. How do you allocate your time between personal and professional responsibilities? How can you focus on conference calls when you’re surrounded by dirty laundry?
Learn how to set priorities and reduce distractions whether you’re new to remote working or you moved out of your cubicle years ago.
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Use these tips for staying peaceful and productive when you work from home.
Steps to Take by Yourself:
- Follow a schedule. Set a start and end time for your day. Tackle your most challenging tasks during the hours when you’re at your peak. When it’s time to quit for the day, leave your job behind.
- Design an office. Designate a separate space for business. Having a designated room in the house can allow you to get more organized and have work supplies and equipment handy. It could be a whole room or a corner in your dining room. Decorate your space with pictures, art, and objects that you find inspirational and uplifting.
- Change clothes. You may not want to wear a suit and tie but changing out of your pajamas will help you to feel more professional. Take a shower and prepare for work as if you are going to the office. Clean, good-smelling and neat clothes will get you into the work mode better. Hang up your bathrobe and get dressed each morning.
Limit distractions. Do you waste time watching TV or checking social media? Ban leisure activities during business hours except during break times. It cannot be avoided when you have an infant or toddler at home. Effective time management can go a long way. If you have a deadline, get a sitter or request help on a specific day. Sometimes, you just need a clear head to focus on your work.
- Take breaks. Speaking of breaks, take them. You’ll be more productive if you refresh your mind and body periodically. Stand up, stretch, breathe fresh air outdoors. Even for a few minutes, sitting on your patio facing the garden, the water if you are blessed to live by it, refreshes the brain. Breathe in the fresh air. Sit in a rocking chair or go in the porch swing.
- Wind down. Do something at the end of each day to help you transition into an off-duty mindset. You might listen to classical music or take a walk in the park. Most people do their runs and workout after a day’s work.
- Get organized. Create routines and systems that encourage efficiency. Buy a cabinet for your office supplies. Use an online calendar to block out your time.
- Continue learning. Career development matters whether you work at your dining room table or in a corner office. Take a course online or order a catalog for the adult education program at a local university. Read industry publications and general business news.
- Evaluate your performance. Conduct your own job evaluations. Look for ways to increase quality, save time, and manage stress. Update your strategy as your goals evolve.
Steps to Take with Your Family, Friends and Colleagues:
- Talk with your boss. It will be easier to balance your life when you and your boss agree on overall expectations. Negotiate the flexibility you need to succeed.
- Post your hours. Ensure your boss and coworkers know the hours that you’re available. Discuss arrangements for how to deal with emergencies that occur outside of those times.
- Go out for lunch. Your midday meal is a daily opportunity to stay connected while you work at home. Plan a weekly date at a local cafe to catch up with your office friends or other employees who work from home.
- Remain visible. Make business lunches and other events part of your strategy for cultivating your network. Show up at the office on a regular basis for staff meetings, birthday parties, and other gatherings. Volunteer at the local chapter of your professional association.
- Pull together. A strong support network helps you to build your confidence and accomplish more. Ask your family and friends for the emotional and practical assistance you need. Let them know how much you appreciate them and pitch in when they need a hand too.
You don’t have to give up life balance when you give up your commute. Enjoy more health and happiness by drawing sensible boundaries between your personal and professional activities.
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How to Reduce the Health Risks from Long Hours of Sitting
A sedentary lifestyle increases one’s risk for health issues as commonly known. Weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis), poor circulation, weight gain, and poor cardiovascular endurance are just a few to mention.
Why is it a piece of common advice to stretch every chance you get when on a long flight? It is to avoid getting blood clots and swelling of the legs or ankles from sitting for long periods.
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By now you’ve probably heard that sitting can cause health complications and even shorten your lifespan. If your boss won’t spring for an office full of treadmill desks, you can still stay by finding other ways to spend more time on your feet.
In fact, a recent study found that walking for just 2 minutes each hour can make a big difference.
That’s good news for the 80% of Americans who find it difficult to keep up with the minimum amount of exercise experts recommend. For example, the American Heart Association suggests at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
There are many practical ways to overhaul a sedentary lifestyle. Try these suggestions for brief walks and other ideas to spend less time sitting.
Benefits of Sitting Less
1. Strengthens your heart. Sitting down slows your circulation and speeds up muscle loss, both of which take a toll on your heart.
On the other hand, physical activity helps to prevent heart disease and even reverses some risk factors.
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2. Avoid illness. Prolonged sitting has also been associated with diabetes, cancer, and other conditions. A daily walk could mean fewer doctor visits and longer life. Stand, move around, stretch even in your chair.
3. Lose weight. Naturally, you burn more calories jogging than lounging on the couch. Think about how much better you look and feel when you stay trim. Plus, exercise is safer than crash diets that may not provide essential nutrients.
4. Enhance your mood. Sitting affects your mind as well as your body. Boost your spirits with a gentle workout. You’ll probably find yourself thinking more clearly too.
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Suggestions for Two-Minute Walking Breaks
1. Break up tasks. Divide your assignments into 60-minute segments. That’s about as long as most adults can concentrate, so you may even increase the quality of your work.
2. Create triggers. If you still tend to lose yourself in the flow, develop signals for when to stand up. Maybe you want to program an alarm on your computer, on a Fitbit or Apple watch, or time yourself according to your favorite radio news program. You can always use any strategy to make you remember!
3. Engage in other light activities. Any gentle task can be substituted for walking. Tidy up the break room or do a few legs raises. If you’re at home, you could weed the garden or dance a few steps.
4. Talk with your boss. It may help to let your boss or coworkers know in advance why you’re changing your routine. They may want to join you,
Other Ways to Reduce the Risks of Prolonged Sitting
1. Exercise regularly. There is no need to expound on the benefits of exercise. While a two-minute walk is a good start, there are advantages to additional exercise. More intense workouts will condition your cardiovascular system, thicken your bones, and sharpen your mind.
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2. Eat a balanced diet. Studies show that adults who sit more, snack more. Try drinking a glass of water or tea to curb your appetite.
Prepare healthy food you can nibble on anywhere, like yogurt or peanut butter on apple slices.
3. Stretch your hips and back. Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spine and hips. Stand up and stretch every hour.
Just a few stretches you can do in your chair:
Forward trunk stretch. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times or as able. Relieves a tight and tired back from prolonged sitting.
Upper spine stretch. Place both hands behind the neck, stretch backward against the back of a chair. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
Forward and side stretch on Table or desk. Place hands on the desk. Slide hands forward to stretch your back. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times or as needed.
SLide hands toward the left side, hold for 5 seconds. Then slide hands toward the right side for another 5 seconds. Repeat 5 to 10 times on each side or as desired until a good stretch for relief is achieved.
4. Turn off the TV. At home, do you sit in front of the TV after sitting at your desk for eight hours? Visit the gym or go out with friends instead.
Hold onto your desk job while you take care of your body and mind. Strategic breaks and other healthy habits will help you live a longer and more active life.
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