When you’re working from home it is easier than ever for your job to creep its way into your day to day life. In fact, many people struggle with separating their work life from their home life and end up working far more than they should be. But, it’s important not only for your family that you keep a good work-life balance between work and home but also for your mental health. I have worked from home for almost ten years. In recent weeks many have found themselves working remotely for the first time, so I have put together recommendations to help you achieve a work to life balance and stay sane while working from home.
How to Achieve a Work to Life Balance
Create a Protected Work Space
If you live alone, it is much simpler to create a protected work space. You’ll still want to have some type of separation between the two. If you’re living with family, having a home office is ideal but not always possible. Choose a space where you can work without interruption, such as a corner desk in your bedroom. It may even be a good idea to put up an “at work” sign so family members will know not to interrupt you. If your children are remote learning while you are working, blocking out outside noise can be difficult. I sometimes where a noise-canceling headset and listen to instrumental music when I work – something that isn’t too distracting.
Have a Strict Work Schedule
What this really boils down to is the fact that you should have a schedule for your workday and stick to it. This means no looking at your work emails first thing in the morning. Try not to even think about work in the morning. That’s your time with your family. Have a set start time for work that you stick to every day. You also need to have a set time for when your workday is going to end. If necessary, carve out some time during the day to assist your children with remote learning or other daily tasks that need your attention. Whatever hours you decide are for work they need to be strictly for work. No stopping to do the laundry in the middle of the day or taking care of other household chores. Treat that time as though you were in the office. It will take a little bit of mental training to get yourself there, but you can do it!
Take Breaks Away from Your Work
Be sure that you’re taking lunch and your breaks away from wherever you’re doing your work. Get away from your desk and let your mind rest. If you can get some fresh air during these breaks do that and also try to get a few minutes of sunlight. It will help keep your mind clear and fresh so you can keep working without strain.
Put Away Your Work at the End of the Day
When you’ve finished work for the day it’s important to create a barrier between you and your work. If you’re working out of your home office this means shutting off your computer and closing the door when your workday has ended. It means putting your laptop away in your messenger bag or whatever else you usually carry it in. It also means not having work emails coming to your phone. Your phone is the number one way that work can get you during off-hours. So if you can, either remove work apps from your phone or turn your phone off at the end of the day.
Maintaining work-life balance is important.
By doing these three things you’ll be able to better differentiate between work and home and that will go a long way towards helping you maintain a work-life balance between the two parts of your life. Be patient with yourself, this sort of thing doesn’t become second nature overnight. If you need to, ask your spouse and kids to help you out with it. Give them permission to call you out if they see you working outside of work hours. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is possible with a sound plan and effort.
If you are seeking remote work, here’s a list of places to search for work-from-home jobs.
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