When I started doing remote work full-time for a company in the USA, I had some preconceived ideas of how things are going to work out but these did not stop me from committing the 8 bad remote work habits in freelancing that ended being detrimental to my health being.
Though work is somewhat is limited given that most of the world is under quarantine, yes we are some of the fortunate ones. Because having work means having a steady stream of income.
That being said, freelancing or working from home has its downsides, and here are some of them. During the early days of 2009, I was paid a fixed monthly rate. Eventually, I was paid by the hour of work.
Here are 8 Bad Remote Work habits in Freelancing I was guilty of when I started out.
1) 24/7 accessibility and availability and sending “just one more email” after you’re supposed to log off for the day
Whenever I get an email, or I get sent a task, even when I am already off and resting, I would respond to the boss and if the task was way too simple, I’d open my laptop and get right to it. The boss saw this as a norm, that he would send me tons of work even after office hours.
2) Never taking breaks
I was rarely taking breaks. My lunch breaks were done in ten minutes or less. The only other break I had was going to the comfort room to relieve myself.
3) Fear of looking “lazy” or not being “dependable” when needed.
Later on, in the course of my work, I would get into wanting to slack off. But there was always something in me that kept me going, I always feared that though I deserve to have breaks, I always feared the boss would email me and if I didn’t answer him back right away, he would think of me as lazy and unreliable.
4) Getting minimal sleep
My time schedule is EST, if it was 8 am in Florida, it would be 8 pm here in Manila. So I would work until 5 am the next day. Sometimes, since I have never really adjusted to the time difference because I stay here, I would be awake until around 9 or 10 am. Get to sleep and wake up at around 1 pm or 2 pm. Not realizing the toll this had on my body.
5) Refreshing your email right before bed (You probably tell yourself, “It’ll make me feel better. I just wanna check.” No, it won’t — it never makes anyone feel better.)
This is one of the trickiest parts before going to bed in the morning. Since I try to catch up with friends in the morning on my social networks, it is really hard to not check email.
6) Eating in front of your computer
I used to have dinner on the dining table, but the rest like breakfast, in between breaks and dinner I would eat in front of my computer.
7) Never seeing my friends (or family)
Most days I was working, never having the time to go out with friends and family. If ever I would have the chance to go out on gimmicks and outings, I would always lug around my laptop. Always and even to the disappointment of the company.
8) Hustling harder
This is one of the very bad effects of wanting to make total use of your time. Somewhere during the course of work, the boss, change my pay mode from monthly to payment by the hour. This would have been good but it was at that time where he also hired another developer in the office, this time when he moved to Maryland. I got lesser work which meant lesser income.
So I tried going back to offering my web designing services locally at the same time. You could just imagine what effect that had on my time and time management.
The lessons I learned.
These 8 Bad remote work habits in Freelancing took a toll on me and my health. In 2010 I had a heart attack. I was smoking too much to help keep me awake. But the cardiologist told me even without the smoking, I had to change my work and sleep habits.
2010 after the heart attack, I quit smoking. Yehey! But I did not do anything about changing my work habits. Well, I did change a bit by not working on Saturdays and Sundays. In December of 2018, I had a stroke. I also stopped taking my maintenance prior to the stroke.
I think the main thing we need to do is to listen to our body and what it is telling us. We can always be good at what we do and even give it 101%. But we should never forget 1) to Rest, sometimes in the middle of the work during breaks, a cat nap can do so much. 2) Walk around while working, talk with family, do your share in the household chores. 3) and most important of all, when you have been diagnosed with a disease or an illness that can be prevented by taking your medicine, take your meds.