With more of us working from home than ever at the moment, it seemed like the perfect time to share my tips for managing your work/life balance to ensure you don’t find yourself losing motivation or heading the other direction altogether into complete burn-out. Neither of those things are good, so as someone who thinks they’ve got this working from home thing perfect, I thought I’d share my knowledge in the hope it might give somebody out there who needs it a little helping hand.
When you’re working from home it’s super easy to struggle to find an even balance of your time. Although you’re not spending time commuting, somehow those hours find themselves still completely full and, if you’re not careful, you can feel like you’re running at full-power all the time with no real difference between Work You and Home You. I struggled with this too when I first began working from home, but with time and a few small adjustments, it’s so much easier now and I find my time is much more evenly split and – as a result – I’m a much healthier and happier version of myself these days!
So, sit back and relax – these are my top tips for managing your work/life balance when working from home:
Choose a dedicated space to be your “home office”
Find a quiet, well-lit space with few distractions. If you’re lucky enough to have a study or spare room they will work perfectly as you can shut the door when you’re finished for the day and walk away from your workspace. But, if you’re not lucky enough to have this extra space in your home, try to avoid working from your sofa or bed if you can. If you have a dining table that will work perfectly. But, wherever you work from, the key to mentally signing off from work at the end of the day is to move away from your workspace and into your downtime space. I personally work from my table so when I finish I shut down my laptop and tidy away all my paperwork so I don’t have to keep looking at it all evening. Sure, this means you have to take 5 minutes to get everything back out again in the morning, but it’s totally worth it to stop your brain thinking about work every time you catch sight of it all!
Set the scene
Get yourself set-up and comfortable, ready for a day of work. Make sure your chair is comfortable, you have good lighting, notepads and pens, fresh air coming in (or the heating switched on to a comfortable level in the colder months), a glass of water by your side, and – if you’re feeling particularly fancy – a nice candle burning. Good surroundings and a settled brain make for a productive work day, I find!
Plan and organise your day
Working from home means we don’t have anyone to encourage or push us – no manager’s walking past our desks or colleagues who can notice if we get stuck in a half-hour-long scroll of Tik Tok! So, when you first sit down at your desk each day write down a list of all the tasks you want to achieve that day – the feeling of satisfaction as you tick them all of is great and acts as extra motivation! You can also consider planning your day into 1 or 2 hour segments, allocating certain tasks to be completed in each one. At the end of each day you can take a look through your list and anything you haven’t managed to get done can be carried over to the next day’s tasks!
Working from home can be a little isolating, so make sure you still have some social interaction. Plan online video calls with your colleagues on a Monday morning to catch up on the weekend and discuss what needs doing in the week to come, and perhaps think about planning an online quiz or social drinks on a Friday evening! If, however, you don’t have any colleagues, schedule calls with friends and family, or perhaps look at working in a shared location once a week (this could be a café or your local library, perhaps!)
It’s so easy to find yourself sat at your laptop all day without taking a break other than to grab a glass of water or run to the toilet quickly, but this is a nasty habit you need to break! Maybe give yourself set times each day to take a break – perhaps 10.30-10.45, 13.00-14.00, and 15.30-15.45. Grab a cup of coffee, make a video call, or go for a walk around the block – this down time is really important to keep your mind in good order.
Being stuck sitting at our desks all day is really bad for our health – physical, emotional and mental – so make sure you get up and get moving! Whether that be a walk around the block, hitting the gym, going for a run, exercise in the garden, or following a video on the internet. Make sure you make time for your own well-being as well as that of your company! (Bonus Tip: I’ve got an alarm on my phone that buzzes me every hour and tells me to get up and walk around the house).
Get dressed every day
I know it’s tempting to settle down at your computer in your PJs or comfy loungewear, but try to make the effort to put on clothes you would wear outside of the house – it strikes a definition between your work hours and your leisure time and helps you to swap from one to the other in your mind too.
Stay away from the fridge
It’s oh-so-easy to find yourself walking to the fridge over and over during the day just in case something interesting has appeared since you last looked in there (we’ve all done it!) This is another good reason to set yourself a proper lunchbreak – you need to have a proper meal and not just exist on quickly-grabbed snacks
Obviously, this list isn’t exhaustive and I’m sure there’s loads more excellent ideas out there but it’s just some of the things I’ve found that have really helped me. If you’ve got any more great ideas I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to add them in the comments below!
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