In a time where working from home seems to be the norm, it can be a lot harder to find that sweet spot of work/life balance. Though it seems like the autonomy would work out great, if you allow yourself to get wrapped up in your job and start to work later and longer, you shift the balance between healthy productivity and obsessive. Not keeping that balance creates extra stress, a condition that can negatively impact relationships, create digestive upset, interrupt sleeping patterns, and lead to burnout. These tips can empower you to craft a health work/life balance that keeps you productive without causing additional strain.
Shape Your Workspace for Maximum Efficiency
Working long hours at home might have you snuggled down on the couch with your laptop. Your good idea will backfire, both with regard to output and physical comfort. Invest in equipment that promotes good posture but is supportive and comfortable. Use an ergonomic keyboard or wrist support, and get a stand or desk for your laptop.
Let Your Strengths Lead
There are things that you can do better than others, and there are things that are limiting or time-wasting. Allow your strengths to decide your schedule and tasks, outsourcing or restructuring the other tasks to fall to those who are the most skilled in that area. It’s okay to let others take some of the load, especially when they will be more efficient.
Since you are home and your office is now in your dining room, it may be tempting to answer every phone call that comes through, regardless of if you are on the clock or not. Allow technology and outsourcing to be your helper. Ninja Number can make sure those phone calls are answered and your messages recorded. Rather than driving to meet a client halfway across town, use Skye or Zoom to connect virtually. Apps like Trello can help manage your tasks and projects, keeping you on schedule.
Learn How to Prioritize
Not only do you have all your normal work projects coming in during the day, but you may be eyeing that sink full of dirty dishes or the front yard that is turning into a small jungle. Learn how to prioritize according to urgency and availability. If your job allows you flexibility with your working hours, take your lunch break and do those dishes. If the lawn is really bothering you, get up a little earlier the next day to get a head start on your paperwork. Whatever time you can shave off your afternoon can be spent mowing the lawn.
Keep Scheduled Working Hours
You will transition to your work from home position better if you pick a schedule and stick with it. Though you do have more flexibility because there isn’t a traffic jam on the way to the kitchen table, you want your mind and body ready to head to work. This will make you more productive. It will also keep you from siphoning time away from friends and family at the end of the day or on the weekends.
Establish Personal Time as a Priority
As mentioned, it is will be tempting to just keep working and get ahead since everything is right there in front of you. Personal time, whether it is exercising, taking your family out to eat, going for drinks with the gang, or just binging on Netflix, needs to be a priority. Do all of these things after work, of course, but make sure you do these things. Your mind needs to recharge and you need to let go of any tension or anxiety that builds up from work situations. Use a calendar to schedule events or break that you can look forward too. This will help motivate you as you go.
Check Your Finances
You may think you need to work a lot for financial reasons. While this may be true, carefully go over your spending and see where you can cut some things back. Fewer expenses will mean fewer hours of overtime needed to pay the bills.
Working from home has its pros and cons, just like a regular office job. Learn how to manage your time and productivity so you don’t upset a healthy work/life balance.