Life & Business

How To Stay Sane When You Work From Home

by Adam J. Kurtz

Part of doing your own thing is figuring out where to work. This month, I’ve had to start sharing my workspace with my partner, and it’s forced me to really consider how I actually handle working from home. Whether you have a “home office” or a coffee table in the living room, the hardest part of the whole process is actually getting the work done, and without going crazy.

Case in point, since writing the last paragraph I’ve sent two emails, g-chatted a friend, and “hopped on a call.” So how do you achieve balance when you’re in the same space all day and night? I’m still not 100% sure, but I do have a few tips. –Adam J. Kurtz



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Adam J. Kurtz Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based artist and author of several books including the international-bestselling 1 Page at a Time journal. His dark (but optimistic) humor comes to life in an offbeat line of gifts and small trinkets. Follow @ADAMJK for more.


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  • So nice to know I’m not the only one struggling with this. I started working from home last fall and while it has many advantages, I had no idea of the difficulties.
    Thanks Adam!

  • The last slide is hysterical. What I wouldn’t give to not make small talk with co-workers, who are very nice people, but I’m not interested in their weekend. And yes, turn that music up!

  • Inviting a friend round to work, so that you still have a colleague you can ignore, is a great idea…and it’s funny!

  • I have worked from home for 11 years. I get up in the middle of the night for conference calls with people in other time zones (con). However, I stay in my p.j.s and if they want to Skype, I turn off the video (pro). I can take my kid to swimming lessons and I don’t tell anybody–need to know basis and frankly nobody needs to know beyond the fact that I’m not available at certain times (pro). We live in the middle of nowhere in the south of France, so going out for a coffee or even to see anybody but birds and vineyards is out of the questions (pro + con). I kept the interesting parts of my old job and no longer have to deal with the obnoxious parts (the meetings, the office politics) (pro). We are starting a new business in a new sector–tourism–so there’s a learning curve and investment…with no safety net (con).
    I miss getting dressed up, seeing other people and the constant ego massage of “great job!” But it’s so much more efficient (no commute, no getting dressed up, can throw in a load of laundry between calls), that I can’t imagine having been a parent any other way.

  • I always try to get out first thing in the morning and grab coffee or exercise. I find this really helps set my mood for the day. And eating lunch elsewhere besides your work space is a good tip too! I make it a point to actually take a lunch break haha.


  • Loved this post! Working from home can really make me go kinda nuts from time to time. I am so going to try to keep these tricks in mind!
    xx Nichole

  • Adam,

    Your posts always make me laugh hysterically, and offer great advice at the same time.
    Pretty good combo.
    I like working in bare feet, does that mean I’m royally f@#ked?
    Is a scarf ok, I collect scarves, and if I throw on one of those puppies I feel like the Queen of the Universe?

    Thanks for brightening my day, and making me feel like I’m not completely insane (a sliver of insanity is fine).

    Ash xo

    • Between you and me, Ashley, I think a sliver of insanity is what makes this whole “thing” we do work.

      • Adam,

        My sliver has managed to become an entire pie this week…
        It’s a good raspberry rhubarb pie with really flakey pastry, but it’s a whole pie none-the-less.
        Not sure if it’s the size of the sliver or piece that matters most or the kind of pie it is…

        Happy Friday (it’s still Friday for me).


  • Ha! Just in time! Very smart advice – especially the ‘go get something’ aka brief outing. I also find a quick run / workout at the gym helps me tremendously first thing in the morning. Lots of outside stimulation (people, traffic, noise) and plenty of blood through the brain. Right, back to work! Now :o)

  • Nicely put, Adam! I have been working at home for 16 years and while my job has changed over time, the daily routine really hasn’t. This article is both true and funny- I needed that this morning, thank you!

  • I think taking a shower and brushing your teeth are important, so you still feel human. I’m a fan of wearing slippers when I work, though. I also refuse to look at my email or answer the work phone on weekends, even though it’s awfully tempting sometimes.

  • The struggle is real. People tell me all the time how lucky I am to run my own business and work from home but you can get wrapped up and stay at home for 4 days straight and wonder why you randomly put yourself in isolation from the world! Not seeing anyone but my dog for 4 days has made me gone ape shit crazy in the past and probably more to come in the future.