Working from home has become the new normal. You get to avoid the hectic commute, and there’s no rushing around to get ready in the mornings.
But… working from home brings plenty of problems, too. When you work from home, it’s easy to get distracted. And it can prove difficult to keep your work from bleeding into what should be your personal time.
In this article, we’re going to discuss what makes a good work-life balance, along with a few tips and tricks to help you out. Finding balance isn’t necessarily easy. It could be a case of using trial and error to find out what works for you. So, let’s dive in!
What is a Good Work-Life Balance?
There’s more to life than work. Of course, we’ve still got to earn a living and pay the bills. There are also many people that enjoy the work they do each day.
Either way, it’s important to create a solid distinction between your professional life and your personal life. Work can quickly crowd out other things. Family, friends, hobbies, and self-care can quickly take the back-burner if we let our work dominate our life. As a result, you can quickly end up burning out which is definitely not ideal.
Creating a good work-life balance is all about prioritizing and managing your time. So, how can you do this?
1. Create a Schedule
One of the big perks about working from home is that you can basically work whenever you feel like it. There’s no watchful boss looking over your shoulder or making sure you show up at 8 o’clock sharp.
Yet, there is a downside to this. It can leave you feeling pressured to work later, cause you to take fewer breaks, and maybe even make you feel like you need to be constantly available. This can be especially difficult if your coworkers are working from home too.
For example, a coworker might prefer to work late in the evening, but you like to finish no later than 5 pm. Neither schedule is wrong, but if your coworker needs to contact you, they might insist on you working to fit their schedule.
It’s best to set up a good schedule and stick to it. This helps you to properly manage your hours, as well as planning other activities outside of work.
Make sure your coworkers know about your schedule as well. If you use online tools to communicate, you can set these tools to make sure you aren’t disturbed outside your working hours.
2. Take Regular Breaks
The idea of taking regular breaks might seem less productive. But breaks can actually boost your productivity, especially short and regular breaks.
And let’s be honest: Working from home can get kind of lonely. It’s good to break up the monotony of your day with small errands and coffee breaks. More importantly, these breaks are an opportunity to recharge.
Be sure to take a proper lunch break too! In the office, you wouldn’t dream of missing your 30-minute lunch break. At home, things can be different. Your fridge is right there in the kitchen, and it’s all too easy to slide in and grab a snack.
Snacking while working through your lunch break isn’t a good idea. You’re still working, and you still need proper nourishment. Set aside time in your schedule for a lunch break, and use that time to eat a good, healthy, and balanced meal.
3. Create a Distinct Workspace
It may be tempting to sit on the couch, laptop balanced on your lap, and work from there. But there are a few reasons why this isn’t a good idea.
While you can be much more productive when working from home, there are also more distractions. You probably wouldn’t be tempted to watch Netflix at the office. But at home, with the TV right in front of you, the temptation is much stronger. You might even turn it on as ‘background noise,’ only to be caught up in another episode of Bridgerton.
If possible, use a study or spare room as your home office. If that’s not possible, set aside a specific area of a room to work from. A desk and chair in the corner of the living room could make a perfectly good workspace.
Productivity is all about your mindset. Sitting down to work on the same couch where you sit and watch TV is going to affect your focus. Your subconscious associates that area with rest and relaxation. Having a specific area for work can help get you into the “working” mindset.
4. Dress the Part
One of the perks of working from home is that you can keep hitting the snooze button, right?
Sure, you can. But if you’re struggling to keep work separate from your home life, getting dressed as you would for the office may help you get into the right mindset. Maybe instead of hitting snooze, you should get up and get ready as always. This can help create separation in your life between those lazy Saturday mornings and the weekdays where you need to get work done.
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy plenty of time in the mornings. Use your extra “beat the traffic” time to shower, enjoy a good breakfast, and get ready for the day. This will put you in the right mindset to get some stuff done!
5. Keep Up Your Productivity
It’s all too easy to begin to let things slide when you’re working from home. But in the long run, this will only increase your workload. The tasks you didn’t get done yesterday need to be done today, and that means working late.
“One-off” occasions where you work late or have to cancel plans can quickly turn into a habit. You might even postpone tasks or meetings because you’d rather conduct them in the office. But this can mean that your next in-office day is panicky and hectic, trying to get through all the tasks you’ve postponed.
Staying on top of your work will help keep you feeling in control and motivated. Knowing you’ve done your tasks for the day makes it easier to close your laptop and switch off from work.
Make sure during those working hours, you stay on task and are making sufficient progress through your to-do list. Checking things off as you go can also feel good!
Find Your Balance
Until now, you might not have had to worry about a work-life balance. You worked hard when you were in the office. When you came home, you were done for the day. Now, everything is different. Home is our office, and our office is at home.
Keeping your personal and professional life balanced is key to sustained motivation and happiness in your day-to-day life, as well as avoiding stress. Find your balance and stick with it. It makes life that much easier and more enjoyable overall!