On Working From Home and Your Work/Life Balance: 5 Tips
Working from home can be empowering, but when not structured correctly, it disrupts the quality of life. I’m sharing 5 tips to help you make the most of your time.
Working from home sounds like the ultimate luxury an ordinary person could obtain right? No more commutes, you don’t have to talk to your coworkers if you don’t want to, you get to sleep in…
Sounds like a dream come true, if you ask me.
Of course, not all that glitters is gold. Unless you go about it the right way, working from home can have detrimental effects on your work/life balance (a concept that millennials are very concerned about).
The reduced overhead cost, and increased productivity might not be worth it if your at-home job derails your entire life!
Boundaries are healthy, right? If your work life becomes indistinguishable from your personal life, you’re on the fast track to burn out. Fortunately, there are a few key habits you can adopt to maximize the benefits available from the fast-growing work model.
Build A Morning Routine.
Being able to roll out of bed and right into work might seem like an advantage (sleep is a precious commodity) at first, but this relationship can easily change if your work will roll right on into the rest of your life.
The hardest thing you’re going to have to give up is working in your pajamas. Getting dressed for work (even if it’s just to walk into the other room) already starts to mentally prepare you for the workday, rather than feeling like it’s another day “at home.”
If you’re taking time to get dressed, you might as well take time to make some coffee or tea, as well as a serviceable breakfast. Having these morning rituals have been shown to improve your quality of life – it’s science!
Have A Dedicated Workspace
Taking those few extra steps during your “commute” to a designated workspace gets your mind into work mode (see the thread here?). This can also help make certain areas of your house “work-free”
If you share your space with a roommate or partner, all the better. It’s hard to respect someone who is working when their work takes over the entire living space.
Plus, having an “office” that is away from the action can give you a calm, peaceful area where you can really focus and get things done.
Finishing a day’s work and returning to a personal space can help your mind decompress, a feeling you can’t get if you work from bed, the couch, and anywhere else you happen to be.
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Escaping the 9-5 is a dream of many, but taking a flexible schedule too far can lead clients to expecting you to always be available, and it doesn’t let your friends and family know when you’re working, and when you’re not.
It doesn’t have to be 9-5, and it doesn’t have to be all at once, but scheduling work blocks can keep you on track, and let the world know when you’re available or not. You can still enjoy flexibility by scheduling breaks within the day to take care of the kids, take a stroll, etc can keep you focused and sane.
Even more importantly, setting aside a consistent block of time to work will ensure you are making time for other things. If you’re working here and there for the entire day, how are you supposed to fit in time for yourself, and those you care about?
Scheduling helps keep work to a specific block of time each day. Don’t be afraid to shut things down when you’ve hit your allotted time. There is always time tomorrow.
Being successful working at home doesn’t mean grinding it out 24/7. Home businesses can take a lot of effort, but you want to work smarter, not harder!
The secret to work efficiency is to take strategic breaks. The brain isn’t able to focus intensely on one thing for that long, so taking some time to er, NOT work during the day keeps your mind fresh and sharp.
Honestly, an office environment can be distracting, and that’s a good thing. Getting distracted gives your brain a break, so if you’re working from home, away from distraction, you have to make your own distractions.
It’s during these small moments of personal time that creative thought can flourish. If it’s nature that inspires you, take a walk. If you do your best thinking on a full stomach, hit up your favorite lunch spot, or try out a new recipe that interests you.
The best thinking usually isn’t done on the job, so this is where you can cheat a little, and purposefully take yourself “off the job” a couple of times each day.
Close Up Shop, Take Care Of Yourself
When your computer is always within reach, and your phone is always on you, it can be feasible to work whenever, wherever. Making sure to wind it down every day can help save you from always being “plugged in.”
There’s always a time in the traditional work setting where you just leave. This doesn’t happen when you work from home, but this simple difference can be what makes or breaks you.
There will always be more that needs to be done. But if you don’t wind it down, it’ll lurk in the back of your mind forever.
“Do I go to a movie with my partner, or work on the project.”
“I should really answer this email, it’s just one” – It’s never just one.
Take the last minutes of your scheduled work time to make a list for tomorrow morning. Maybe surf the web a little bit. Your brain has been in high gear for a while and you don’t want to slam on the brakes. The slow wind down could be what keeps you from NOT collapsing after work.
They call it work/life balance because in the end it’s just that, a balance. Working from home can offer you the flexibility to have time for other pursuits, or afford you more time with your family, but it also comes with the risk of blending your work and personal life together until you can’t tell which is which.
Do you work from home? Share your tips on striking the balance below.