When I landed my first remote position, it was the highest high ever.
I get to work from HOME.
Perhaps in my PJs, perhaps from bed.
I can take lunch when I want.
I can create my own schedule.
All of these things were beautiful and true, but I was in for a rather rude awakening.
After about 3 months into the position I was losing pretty much all of my sanity.
I had absolutely NO boundaries between my professional life and personal life.
My laptop would hang out in my living room as I like to bounce around the house as I work so when me and my husband were hangin’ on the couch at night, I would find myself opening up my Mac diving into some project (that could totally wait until the next day.)
Since I was never technically “leaving the office” I worked an extremely irregular, somewhat all-around-the-clock schedule. I’d start my day super early and end up working super late, and super over the weekends. I would get so wrapped up in the work that I wouldn’t eat lunch, or wouldn’t start dinner until 7pm. I became nervous to make plans before 5pm “just in case” something additional came through my inbox.
There was really nothing separating me from my work. My professional life became way too invasive.
So I set my own boundaries.
I created an at-home office. This is my space for all things business-y and work-related. That doesn’t mean I only work from my home-office, I really do enjoy working from the couch, or kitchen table, or backyard, or even on the floor with my pup. But my home-office became the room in my home that was associated with work. It was a separate space for me to keep my calendar, planner, notebooks, chargers, and most importantly – where I lay my laptop down for rest when I’m off the clock.
I took business apps completely off my iPhone. (voxer, slack, etc) I was creating way too many opportunities to think about work. I was literally thinking about work day and night, but how could I not be? I had my laptop tempting me on the couch and my phone lighting up with constant notification which were work-related. I kept email, but I went ahead and turned those notifications OFF. I check my email on mobile when I choose to, if I know something pressing is coming through or just want to pop in, but those notifications don’t control me anymore.
I treated my home like an office. I stopped checking in at 7pm, I stopped responding to my voxer messages at 11pm, I stopped working over the weekends. I created a separation from being “home” to being “at work” even though they were both the same space. When I’m not working, I’m not working and that mentality has helped me keep these boundaries in place.