Working from home definitely has its perks.
For one, you don’t need to worry about the commute (um, Montreal metro line, I’m talking to you). Then of course, is all the flexibility that comes with running your own show. But these perks come with many hours of hard work, hustling and passion. And, if you aren’t careful, this can lead to you being overworked, unmotivated and flat-out unhealthy. Fact is, and this is especially true if you’re a solopreneur, the health and prosperity of your business is highly dependant on your health, productivity and resiliency. So it makes good business-sense to implement a few health strategies to your workday.
Health tips for the home based entrepreneur
1. Schedule you-time, and stick to it.
When you work from home, you need to find a delicate balance between three things: Time for work. Time for housework/errands. Time for you.
There should be well defined, allocated timeslots for each of these elements in your schedule. Problem is, without someone watching over you, a train to catch or a punch-clock, it can be tempting to give “just a little bit more” time to work/housework, gradually reducing any available wellness time. It’s very easy for these boundary lines to be blurred if they aren’t clearly defined.
That’s why the trick is to get really clear on how and when these elements will fit into your day, and then just sticking to it. Knowing when you’ll be working, when you’ll be doing a load of clothes and when you’ll take a lunch break. And then of course, you need to treat this schedule as you would a meeting or conference call.
So the first step in being a healthy home based entrepreneur is a mindset shift. It’s important to take full responsibility for the time you spend (or don’t spend) on yourself and your health. Think you can do better? Grab that calendar, take advantage of your home based flexibility and pencil yourself in. You (and your business) deserve it.
2. Stop for fuel every 3 hours
Coffee won’t cut it. Aim to eat a combination of the three macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat) every three hours. Apple with peanut butter, Greek yogurt topped with berries and chia seeds or veggies with a hard-boiled egg.
Don’t feel hungry for a snack? I would still recommend grabbing something if it’s been more than three, maybe four hours since you’ve last eaten. Getting carried away with work can trick you into thinking you aren’t hungry, because you aren’t giving your cues much attention. The danger? All that hunger accumulates into the evening, when it will become overwhelmingly difficult to control.
Forget to snack altogether? Set a reminder on your phone, computer or time it with one of your routine tasks or breaks (see #5). For instance, if you typically check your inbox and return emails at 9 am and at 3pm, then this can serve as a reminder for your snack.
3. Prep a a lunch box anyway
One of the things I love most about working from home, is that I can prepare myself an elaborate meal if I want to. Of course, this time is often used towards recipe development for the blog or other food-related projects, so it makes sense for me. But for the non-nutritionist solopreneur, having to construct a lunch from scratch can mean less time spent enjoying it, or worse, skipping the process completely, grabbing a few pieces of food and heading back to the workload.
You need to allow yourself time to eat and more importantly, you need to allow yourself time to eat WELL. While you’re at it, try to take that lunch outside so you can snag some vitamin D.
Pressed for time? That’s fine. Maybe you’ve arranged your workday so you only have 30 minutes for lunch, or less. If this is the case, you have two options:
– Rearrange your day to make for more lunch time
– Have it ready, just as it would be if you had brought a lunch box to the office. And depending on how busy you are, you can take this all the way and prepare your snacks and drinks as well. Treating it this way removes the stress of deciding what to eat for lunch, while ensuring you have time to enjoy something healthful that will truly recharge those batteries.
4. MAKE time to move
If you find yourself skipping workouts a little too easily when you work from home, then it’s time to implement stricter strategy. After all, it isn’t about having time to exercise, it’s about making the time. Because in all honesty, chances are pretty slim that extra time will ever surface. But luckily, as an entrepreneur, you have killer organizational and time-management skills to make this possible, yes?
The easiest way to find time for a workout is to take advantage of your nonexistent commute! If you’d normally be heading to the office between 7 and 8 am and back home again between 5 and 6 pm, these two slots would make perfect sense for squeezing in a workout. You’ve gained this time by bringing the business home, so might as well put it towards moving your body.
You need to treat this like a must on your to-do list, not an “if I get around to it” kind of task. Besides, exercising in the morning is a great way to oxygenate body and mind before the workday, while exercising in the evening can serve as the ultimate stress-reliever. Win-win.
5. Take regular breaks
Keeping your body in shape is important, but you need to keep your mind sharp, too. And since more evidence is indicating that taking regular short breaks, is actually beneficial for focus and productivity than going longer periods without, be sure to get up from your desk, stretch those legs, maybe refill your glass with lemon water and come back, refocused and ready to roll.
So what happens when you really don’t have time? Maybe you’re drowning in deadlines, have a launch or event coming up that needs your every ounce of energy and attention. It’s bound to happen, and something will have to give. But if possible, try to sneak in a few of the above points into your day, if you can’t find time for all five. I’d say making time for a healthful lunch and sneaking in a stress-relieving workout after the workday are the most likely to keep you feeling your best, refreshed and at your most productive self.
Are you a home based entrepreneur? Do you struggle with sticking to healthy habits at home? What strategies do you implement to make time for healthful meals and regular workouts?