This week I’m thrilled to feature Trisha Miller as Punched Clock’s first-ever guest contributor! Trisha is a freelance writer from Boise, ID, and a dedicated vegan who promotes an all-around healthy lifestyle including financial health and organizational well-being. Today, Trisha shares tips on taking time off – something we all need to do more often! Enjoy!
Why Taking a Weekend Off is Essential When Working From Home
By Trisha Miller – Guest Blogger
Working from home is not even in the same realm as working in an office. Scheduling can easily become a thing of the past when home and work life intertwine. Prioritizing family and friend time, time with the kids, and trying to balance work tasks can be extremely stressful (especially when trying to plan a few days off).
That doesn’t mean telecommuters shouldn’t take breaks, though. Time off is essential to refuel and refocus for the week ahead. So, telecommuters, it’s time to reclaim your weekends!
Here are two important reasons why:
You’ll be more productive when you’re working.
We’ve all had those days when all we can think about is cutting loose and letting off a little steam. When we take some time for ourselves, we are able to clear our minds from unnecessary stressors and focus on the task at hand.
Think of the brain like a glass in which you are pouring water. Once the water reaches the brim of the glass, that’s it. There’s no more room. The brain is the same way. Once the brain is “full” of information and stimulation — whether that’s at the end of the day, or the end of the week — there’s just no more productive work that can be done.
After taking a couple days off, you’ll be rejuvenated and maybe even excited to get things done. As a result, the quantity and quality of completed work will increase, and who doesn’t feel good about that?
Sleeping more helps to work out brain blocks.
Studies show that getting a good night’s rest after learning new information will allow your brain to process it better and store it in your long term memory banks. So, sleeping in over the weekend could mean feeling a little less scatterbrained during the work day.
The extra shut-eye will allow for an overall more productive day; one that isn’t spent trying to figure out exactly where you left off (this happens to me more than I’d like to admit).
As we go about our work week, information starts to pile up like papers on a desk. If someone isn’t there to process these papers and file them properly, the information at the bottom will be forgotten. Don’t let your information be forgotten. Get some sleep. You’ll be well-rested and able to tackle the week with gusto when you return.
Sure, you’re thinking, but reclaiming the weekend is easier said than done. And you’re right, it’s not easy. But with a little determination, and these tips, you can do it.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
It’s when I’m most exhausted and in need of a vacation that my mind starts to turn on me. Late at night, I will toss and turn — worrying about what I’ve missed in planning for my future.
The thing is, when you work from home you have to be a little more independent. And, as we all know, independence equals more things to worry about. When those little worries start creeping into your mind over the weekend, don’t give them a place to stay. When you think of tasks that need to be done, write them down on a to-do list, and get to them during the week.
Unaddressed, these thoughts can easily ravage the mind with restlessness, begging to take away your weekend. Writing them down in a clear manner and actually following up on them, however, will allow your mind to be stress-free during your well-deserved free time.
Delegate business hours.
Pretend the home office is an actual work office. (Hear me out, just try to picture it to the best of your ability.)
Set designated work hours when possible and take appropriate breaks, just like you would in an office. Make sure to take a walk every hour, but don’t get distracted with things like your favorite TV show.
This kind of structure, intermixed with breaks, will release tension when it comes down to the wire. Sometimes knowing that you have completed all that can be done today, or during this week, is all that’s needed to help the mind and body shut off for the weekend.
Use technology to your advantage.
This doesn’t mean you should put things off or not get them done on time. If a deadline is set, plan your schedule properly in order to meet that agreed upon timeframe. There are a multitude of apps available to keep you punctual and organized, so take advantage of them!
Block out your time.
Speaking of organization, keeping yourself organized and your workspace clean is a huge time-waster. Instead of doing that over the weekend, set aside some time at the end of the day on Friday to tidy up. It’s one less thing to worry about over the weekend, and a welcome feeling when you pick up work again on Monday morning.
Clean-up time isn’t the only thing you should be scheduling. You should be blocking out time for all of your projects to keep you on track and on task.
Scheduling apps are a huge help in keeping you focused on the task at hand, and not letting you push things off for the weekend. That said, when scheduling apps come into the picture, it’s easy to get overzealous and plan out your weekends in addition to weekdays. Don’t let the temptation to throw in a little task here or there on the weekends get to you. It’s important to respect the business hours you have set, so block them off on your work schedule and reserve them for more fun, personal events.
Don’t party too hard.
It’s tempting to let loose on the weekend to get rid of pent-up energy, but that’s not the best route. While you should definitely have fun, partying a little too hard on the weekend will take its toll on the body. It takes time to recover from the dehydration that comes from a nasty hangover, and sometimes that time can claim your Monday.
When it comes down to it, organization and diligence are the home worker’s best friend. Taking some time off will allow you to feel invigorated and keep work fresh. So, reclaim your weekends and feel the relaxation set in — you deserve it!
Do you work from home? Share your tips for other telecommuters in the comments!
Thanks for the great tips, Trisha! For more from Trisha, you can check out her blog at thatdangvegan.com and find her on Twitter @thatdangvegan