Is your 9-to-5 job feeling more like a 24/7 job because you work from home? Here are four tips to help you balance your work-from-home life.
If you find yourself newly working from home, it may be a challenge to keep the personal and professional separate. The boundaries of the work day feel less sturdy, especially if you are without a dedicated office space. Leaving the office at the end of the day no longer includes a commute. So, there’s also no transition period. You haven’t left anything behind. Your work remains with you, at home.
How do you know when your day job is done? Is there such a thing as leaving the office? Add balance to your work-from-home life by creating routines, sticking to schedules, and being creative.
Create a Routine
You may feel freer than ever working from home. There are no coworkers in your space and you have more control over your environment. However, it might actually help to create some rules if you want to add balance to your work-from-home life.
When you open up your laptop in bed, for example, you impact your productivity. It’s tempting and easy to plop down on your comfiest spot, but you might not be that comfortable. Or, you might get too comfortable. Additionally, bringing work into what should be a relaxing spot can later impact your ability to kick back at the end of the day and fall asleep.
So, instead of feeling like your home is your sprawling new cubicle, establish a dedicated workspace. Although you may not have a formal desk, you can still build a productive environment. Create a routine of turning on your computer at the same time every day, and do it in the same place. It could be at a kitchen table or in a reading nook. Wherever it is, make it a dedicated space to work in during your normal work hours.
Stick to a Schedule and Take Breaks
If you have recently transitioned to work from home, you may feel as if the workday never ends. After all, you never leave the office. In general, it’s a good idea to clearly communicate with your manager and peers when they can expect to hear from you. If you need time away, take it, and don’t be tempted to check in. When you break your own schedule, you send the signal that you are always available.
True, you may need to respond to emergencies. Some days may be busier than others. But do your best to stick to a schedule. Start and end around the same time every day. Take a real lunch break away from your computer. Little breaks and clear time on and off the clock can help add balance to your work-from-home life.
Pack Up and Transition
If you find you are still tempted to keep working or have trouble “leaving” the office, give yourself a transition period. It could mean that at the end of the day you take a walk or do an at-home workout. It could mean you change your outfit, which helps you literally transition out of work mode.
It all goes back to creating those boundaries and living with a schedule. Turn the computer off or physically pack up and put away your laptop. If you are living in a small space, actually removing work from your sight can be a big help. Your brain might still be thinking, but a little bit of tidying up can help you at least get away from the keyboard.
Creating and breaking habits is hard. You are used to living a certain way.
All change takes some time for you to adjust. What’s most important is that you do your part to improve your work-from-home habits. That means no cheating! Design your new work-from-home life and stick to it to stay balanced. You may need to make some adjustments along the way, but keep your health and happiness in mind. You may find it makes you a more productive worker, too!