When you’re working from home it’s easy to get disconnected from everything and just focus on your work. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when you’re under deadline to get something finished. But sometimes that’s not such a great thing, like when you have no idea what’s going on in your community, when you’re missing out on things with your family, or when your lack of social interaction is leading you into a phase of depression.
It’s easy to fall into the pit of endless work. Your computer is right there, clients have requests in for projects, you feel like you’re making progress and the extra income is nice to have. Then you take on a little bit more. And a little bit more. Before you know it you’re working 16 hours a day, your hair hasn’t seen a comb or brush all week, and your kids are wondering if you’ll be joining them for dinner tonight.
It happens to all of us every now and then, even if we’re aware of the pitfalls that are in front of us. I’ll be honest with you, this has happened to me on more than one occasion and I’ve fallen very deep into the pit a few times. And climbing out of the pit isn’t always easy.
It helps if you have a supportive family and someone in the real world to talk to that recognizes that you’re falling into that pit in the first place, whether it’s a friend or a family member. You might think this is most likely a spouse, significant other, or even a roommate, but that’s not always the case. Staying connected with your friends and family is important for relationships in general, but when you work from home and are often isolated these connections can become even more important.
This is going to be different for everyone, but I find that I really need to force myself to “unplug” from the internet every now and then, I try to do that at least once per week, usually on Saturday. It’s not a perfect plan and sometimes I find myself working on something that day, but I won’t allow myself more than a few hours if it’s supposed to be my day off and I try to do that few hours while the kids are in bed sleeping.
In addition to the occasional unplugged day I find that I also need to physically force myself to leave the house and do things out in the world other than just grocery shopping or trips to the doctor’s office. Actual things that are fun and social like see a movie with my husband, go to the park with the kids, walk around the farmer’s market, anything with some fresh air and smiles without an internet connection and without checking my email.
Nothing is ever so urgent that you can’t spend the day with your family and friends, unwinding, relaxing, and enjoying the life that you worked so hard to have the freedom to enjoy.
So that’s my summer break challenge to you for the remainder of June and all of July….
Go out, have fun, enjoy life, and reconnect with the world away from your desk. There’s nothing wrong with hard to reach a goal; but you have to remember to recharge the batteries from time to time, otherwise you’ll find yourself burnt out entirely.