Five ways to maintain work-life balance when you work from home
Working from home can be an opportunity as well as a restraint. Many people choose to work from home because they prefer a structure that is more flexible or need to be close to home. While technology allows us to achieve a level of efficiency in home working that is close to that of an office environment, sometimes it can be hard to let go of your work stress when you literally bring it into your house. Here are some ideas of how to maintain work-life balance when you work from home.
Limit screen time
For most home workers, phones and technology are the key to their communication with their colleagues and work. It can sometimes be hard not to compulsively check one’s phone even outside of “office hours” – especially when 25 new messages pop up on a group chat. Some people find it helpful to keep a separate work phone from their usual one so as to keep a balance between work and home. If you can’t do this, try turning off notifications outside of working hours. There are also apps that alert you to how often you pick up your phone, or limit the time you spend on social media during your working hours.
Take regular breaks
It’s important to treat your time working from home as you would an office job. Part of that is taking regular breaks from your screen to walk around, stretch, or get a cup of coffee – alternatively CBDfx gummies are huge right now. Taking regular short breaks improves productivity and allows you to think creatively, meaning that you can get more done during your working day and it doesn’t bleed into your home life. In particular, being active makes us more awake and alert, so do try to avoid staying stationary for too long. Fitness trackers such as Fitbits are a great option; you can set them to give hourly reminders to keep moving. Try to avoid taking your breaks in the same place; a change of scenery will give your brain a breather. As we mentioned previously, it’s also good to limit screen time, so try to avoid watching videos or using your computer during your break.
Part of what makes working from home feel like working, rather than an extension of your home life, is the way you approach it. Research shows that the clothes one wears have a big effect on the quality of your work. It could also be a useful tool for maintaining work-life balance. Some people even like to change out of their “work clothes” into something more comfortable when the working day is through. This allows us to feel professional while we work, and relax when we need to. Though it can seem easy to roll out of bed and stay in your pyjamas, you will probably be less productive dressed in your lounge-wear, whereas making an effort to look presentable starts you off with a boost of motivation and has a huge impact on how you approach the day.
Keep your work and sleeping area separate
A big temptation for the home worker is to work from bed. It’s understandable – it’s comfortable, you can wake up and immediately go to work, and if you need a nap… But it can have a very negative effect on your sleep to work in bed. You don’t want to associate the place you feel most at peace with a piece of work that you can’t get your head around. Plus, the temptation to nap during the day might become too big to resist. Even the best-laid plans could go to pot when your head is right next to the pillow. Try to have a separate area for working and sleeping. It can be a desk in your bedroom, or, ideally, in a completely different part of your home.
Set up a professional workspace
Whether your desk is in the bedroom or you have a separate office, it’s important to make the place feel ordered and professional. If you sit surrounded by clutter, your mind will feel cluttered, too – and what’s more, in a moment of boredom you may be tempted to procrastinate by tidying up. You also want to be free from distractions; It’s fine to have photos up, of course, but if you are prone to being easily diverted of fidgeting, try to help yourself by removing any potential triggers. It’s worth keeping a separate work calendar; if you see a reminder about tonight’s meetup with your friends, you might be tempted to send them a message instead of prepare for tomorrow’s meeting.
Don’t eat on the job
Though many people in the office end up eating lunch at their desk, one of the luxuries of working from home is having somewhere to cook yourself up some decent food. If you eat while you work, you will stop appreciating the pleasure of mealtimes, and it might get you into the habit of eating in front of your screen during your down time. Make sure you eat a good breakfast before you start the day, and set yourself time at lunch to enjoy your food. If you have anyone else in the house, coordinate your lunch break so you can have some social time away from work, or go out somewhere local for a change of scenery.
Keep your hours defined
While working from home can be an excuse to let work take over your life completely, this isn’t healthy. In order to prevent yourself from being sucked into work outside your normal hours, be strict with yourself about when you are going to start and finish work. And stick to those hours! This doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible with your hours if needed, but make sure there is a cutoff point. If you are able to, shut off all work contact after your day is over. Use your “home time” to relax – that’s what it’s there for!
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