Struggling to separate work from home? Even before the pandemic, maintaining a healthy work-life balance wasn’t easy. You’d think the massive global shift to remote working would have changed things.
After all, you’d be working at home. You’d have the freedom to work at your own pace. You’d be free to play an old Bob Dylan album or watch a nature documentary on Charter Spectrum cable.
However, you may have found yourself spending more time working remotely. More than you did in your physical workspace. Learn how to manage this new threat to your work-life balance.
Managing a Healthy Balance Between Remote Work and Life
Is this bad? We’d say yes. The workaholic “grind” culture is not as relevant as it was a few years ago. Of course, you should always bring your best to each workday. But never at the expense of your mental health or personal fulfillment. People often like to brag about putting in up to 80 hours a week at work. But most fail to mention the flipside where they experience chronic fatigue and diminished personal time.
Find more about: maintaining a healthy work-life balance
A skewed work-life balance is a good way to end up with massive stress, even when not working. This is only a few steps away from burnout, which may cut short your career plans altogether. Luckily, the solution is fairly simple. All you have to do is correct the balance in a healthy and sustainable manner. The tips below could prove useful:
Keep Your Commute Time for Yourself
Most people usually have a commute to their workplace. The commute time can be particularly long if you used to travel to work from a suburb. Commutes can seem like a drag. But they serve a very important purpose. They signal your brain it is time to transition into work mode. You can start rearranging your thoughts and focus on managing your tasks for the day.
However, since you now work remotely, you don’t need to commute. But that doesn’t automatically tack on another hour of sleep. You could use it in far more fulfilling ways. So, remember to wake up according to your regular schedule.
Once you’ve freshened up and had a healthy breakfast, you should still have some time before you start working. Use this to take a leisurely walk around your neighborhood. It helps if you have a park or green space nearby. Nature is by far the best stimulant. You will have time to cycle into work mode. But you will also have time to take in life at a slower pace than a highway or a subway line.
Reserve a Specific Space for Working
Do you work in your bed? Or on the couch in front of your TV screen? Both seem like natural choices. But they’re actually counter-productive. You may understand that you need to work. But your mind likely still associates both of these spots with rest and relaxation. So, you may be trying to do your best. But your mind and body are stuck between work and rest mode.
You’ll find you’re far less productive during a day, and may even have to work late to make up for it. That will usually eat into the already small portion of the day left to yourself. But there’s an easy fix. You have to trick yourself into actively staying in work mode. So, you may find it helpful to designate a specific area of your home as a workspace. And that doesn’t just involve setting up a table and chair. You need to give it the same respect you give to your workplace. That means no distractions, no idling, and no daydreaming. Get work done while you’re in that space. And get ready for some me-time once you leave the space.
Set Apart Time Each Day for Yourself
Just because you’re working from home, you aren’t on an extended vacation. You’re still logging hours at work every day. Even if it is from your home, you’re still at work. So don’t think taking regular breaks is now unnecessary. Neither is dedicating part of the day just to unwind and decompress. Both are crucial to keep you fresh and active. Regular breaks during work, even if just to walk to the end of the driveway and back, are great. They can help you retain more focus, instead of becoming numb after hours of working.
At the same time, you need to keep designating part of the day only for you. This time is meant to help you value and care for yourself. Not for any role you have to play at work or at home. Just you. This can be a meditative activity, a hobby, or even a quiet hour of reading. As long as it allows you to re-establish a connection with yourself, don’t ignore it.
Put Your Business Phone Away After Business Hours
The final tip can often be the most difficult. Business emergencies requiring your immediate attention can and do arise. Therefore, most employees keep their business devices running all day. However, that means you may continue to receive emails and messages all day long. Even after business hours end, you’ll still be stressing overwork.
Moreover, if you aren’t actively stressed, you can be sure your mind will fixate on work and interfere with the remainder of the day. Do yourself a favor, and put your business phone on “Do Not Disturb” once business hours end.