Working and learning from home usually offers a lot more flexibility and cuts out hours spent commuting to and from an office. It should give us more free time and the chance to completely focus on work or learning. But despite the benefits, many people will end up more stressed and exhausted when working from home.
We take a look at why working and learning from home makes us stressed and what you can do about it.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
When you’re working, studying, and living all in the same place it can be really difficult to establish a clear boundary between your personal life and work. You probably underestimate how much the commute to work creates a division in your life. When you leave the office at the end of the day most of the time you leave your work behind as well.
When you’re at home it’s easy to end up working longer hours, find yourself worrying about a project late at night or just having a quick look at your emails outside of work hours.
Lack of Structure
The flexibility to work and learn when and where you want is something that a lot of people want. But in reality, many of us struggle to stay focused without a regular routine. It can be harder to switch into work mode in the mornings if you’re starting at a different time each day. And if you feel like you’re not very productive at the beginning of the day you’re likely to work longer to catch up or skip breaks and lunchtime.
Freedom to choose your own working hours sounds like a good idea, but you’ll probably end up working longer than normal but feeling like you’re not getting as much done.
This is a big problem if you’re trying to study in your spare time around work. In theory, you should have extra time because you don’t need to commute between work and home or where you study. But your working day is likely to take up your studying time, or you’re less motivated to study in the evenings because you need a break.
There are just as many potential distractions at home as there are in an office setting. You might be managing child care while you’re home, or get distracted by deliveries or other people in your house, or even just be tempted to do little household chores like sticking a washing load on.
Without anyone there to notice exactly what you’re doing all day, these little tasks and distractions can add up to a lot of time wasted, which will leave you feeling stressed that you’re not accomplishing as much as you need to. Frequent interruptions can also impact the quality of your work or learning as well, which can make you feel even more stressed.
The lack of social interactions when you’re working and learning from home can also leave you feeling disconnected and unmotivated, which increases stress levels.
While some time without meetings and office chat to get your head down can be good, it’s important to have some interaction with other people during the day. It can help you to feel less anxious about your work and allows you to bounce ideas off someone or get a better perspective on a piece of work or studying that’s causing you problems.
Tips for Managing Your Stress Levels
While it’s common for people that are working and learning from home to be stressed, there are plenty of ways in which you can manage and reduce your stress levels.
Set Your own Routine
Create a routine for your day that allows you to manage your time and focus on your work and learning. This could look something like this:
- Get up at the same time every day
- Do something before work like take a walk, sit down with a coffee, or a short workout.
- Get up from your work once an hour to move about.
- Take your lunch break at the same time, away from your desk.
- Finish at the same time every day, and put your work away.
- If you need to study outside of work, move somewhere else to do it after finishing work.
- Do one thing for yourself in the evening — exercise, walk, cook a meal, read a book.
- Go to bed at a regular time and give yourself at least seven hours of sleep.
Use the Right Tools and Software
There are plenty of productivity and automation tools available that are designed to help you get more done. These are especially valuable if you’re running your own business or self-employed. However, it can be overwhelming finding the right ones and in some cases, using too many different tools will slow you down.
These are a few of the key tools and software that you should be looking to use:
- Use a cloud based platform like Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace to bring your email, file storage, calendars and messaging all into one system.
- Find good project management software to help manage your workload and stay on track.
- Time tracking tools that help you monitor how you spend your day — this will help you to stay focused and split your time between work and learning.
- Automation tools that can help you to streamline your work, for example, email marketing, social media scheduling, accounting software, or an effective HR system can make a huge difference.
It’s also worth looking into the core platforms you’re using for your work and whether they’re the best solution. For example, if you’re running a website then one of the best options is Wix. As you can see in this review from WebsiteBuilderExpert, Wix is a straightforward website builder platform that’s easy to maintain. Or if you’re running training courses then take a look at some Teachable reviews like this one from Learning Revolution — you can read their opinion of the Teachable platform to understand how it might be helpful.
The tools, systems, and platforms that you’re using to manage your workload and do your job should be helping to reduce your stress levels — if you’re spending too much time on simple tasks or getting frustrated with your systems then it’s worthwhile changing them.
Prepare Yourself for Studying
If you are trying to take a course or study alongside working then make sure you properly prepare yourself beforehand. Get an understanding of what you’re signing up for, how much time it requires for any lessons or independent studying. This will help you to plan out your time and make sure that you can prioritise your learning.
Create a Separate Workspace
Try to set yourself up with a home office space that you can separate from the rest of your home. This will help you to switch in and out of work so that it doesn’t blur into your personal life.
Take Time Out
While you might not have a lot of free time, especially if you’re working and learning from home, it’s important to make room for some time out in your schedule. Set aside some time where you can completely switch off and relax. It’ll give you something to work towards and after a break, you’ll come back refreshed and more engaged with your work. Working and learning from home can be stressful, but these tips will help you to boost your productivity, schedule your time, and make you feel more motivated.