One of the biggest challenges of working from home is establishing your work/life balance. It’s too easy to send one quick email, and end up working until the middle of the night from the comfort of your bed. Follow these tips to establish the perfect work/life balance whilst you’re working from home.
- Establish your workspace
- Stick to a routine
- Give yourself time in the morning
- Make a to-do list
- Plan your breaks
- Schedule social events
- Check-in with yourself
- Use your out-of-office
- Leave your work at the end of the day
- Avoid work at the weekends
Establish your workspace
Bringing your work into your home can feel like an invasion. Suddenly your safe space becomes your workspace as well, and it can feel overwhelming trying to separate the 2. That is why it is important to establish a workspace. If you have a spare room in your home that you can turn into a home office that’s great, but if you don’t, use a corner of any room. Confining your working environment to 1 room or corner will make it easier for you to establish the areas of your home where you need to be in work mode and the areas where you can relax.
Stick to a routine
When we were travelling to work we were in a routine. Now that routine has been disrupted it’s time to establish a new one. A routine will help you to set boundaries between when you are working and when you are not. Your body and brain will begin to notice when you need to focus on work and when you can relax, despite both happening under the same roof. Your routine doesn’t have to be extensive, it can simply be establishing a time to get up every morning, but having one will make separating your work time and downtime a lot easier.
Give yourself time in the morning
It’s all too easy to roll out of bed in the morning and open your laptop straight away. Although this means that you can sleep in later than you normally would on a workday, it also means that your mind and body haven’t had time to wake up before you start working. Instead, wake up half an hour to an hour before you start work and allow yourself time to properly wake. You don’t necessarily have to do anything strenuous in this time, perhaps simply get up and enjoy a morning beverage, but it’s important to allow yourself time to fully wake up before straining yourself with work.
Make a to-do list
To-do lists are excellent at focusing the mind and allowing you to set clear goals for your day. Before you start work, jot down everything that you have to do that day, and in the order that you will do them in. This will help you clear your mind and focus solely on the tasks at hand, whilst also giving yourself an indication of when you can finish work for the day. That being said, don’t panic if you don’t get everything on your to-do list completed before the day is done. You shouldn’t be working any later than your contracted hours, and anything that you haven’t done can wait for tomorrow.
Plan your breaks
Breaks are important whether you are working from home or in an office. You should be taking breaks every hour for a minimum of 10 minutes to give your eyes a break from your screen and to move your body. Every hour get up from your workspace and move to another area of your home. For 5-10 minutes do something non-work-related, such as have a walk around your home, read a book, or listen to music. This will give your brain time to rest and reset before taking on the next hour of work.
Schedule social events
It’s important that you don’t let your work take over your home as a safe and comforting area to relax. To prevent this from happening, schedule social events for after work and the weekends. This could be dinner with friends, a coffee, or even just watching a movie with a loved one. Whatever it is, it’s important that your home remains your home and not an extension of your workplace.
Check in with yourself
Burnout is very common with individuals who work from home because they don’t establish a strong work/life balance. Rather than finishing work at a set time, they continue working throughout the night because they don’t physically have to leave the space they are in. This can cause a rapid decline in mental health and can result in you becoming both mentally and physically unwell. To prevent yourself from experiencing burnout check in with yourself every week to make sure that the way you are working is working for you. If you notice that you are fatigued or overwhelmed, take a step back and evaluate how you can alter the way that you are working. It may also be beneficial to reach out to friends, family, or HR to express how you are feeling. Remember that no work is more important than your health and wellbeing.
Use your out-of-office
Similar to checking in with yourself, if you are particularly busy or feel like you need some time to yourself, don’t be afraid to use your out-of-office to let colleagues know that you don’t want to be contacted. This can be incredibly helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed and you need to refocus your mind. You can turn your out-of-office on and off as and when it suits you, so don’t be afraid to use it.
Leave your work at the end of the day
As soon as the end of the workday comes, move away from your work. Do not get stuck in the trap of finishing something off quickly, or answering one more email, because you will find yourself working hours after you’re scheduled to leave work. Instead, when the end of the work day comes, finish off the task you were doing, or leave it at a sensible end for you to pick up on tomorrow, and physically remove yourself from your workspace. It isn’t until you physically remove yourself from the area that you will be able to completely relax and enjoy the rest of your day. It’s crucial that you set these boundaries.
Avoid work at the weekends
Another crucial boundary for you to set is to avoid doing work at the weekends. The weekend is when you can completely relax, reset your mind, and give yourself time to rest. Just because your work is at home and easily accessible does not mean that you should be doing it in your downtime. Instead, avoid going near your workspace during the weekend, and take the time to do something enjoyable and fun. This will help you to establish the difference between your working life at home and your relaxing life at home, helping you to establish a solid work/life balance.
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