Attaining work-life balance while working from home

Feb 12, 2021 | Work/Life Balance

When you work in the same physical space where you eat, sleep and watch Netflix, finding the right balance between work and everyday life can be a challenge. Too often, the boundaries begin to blur, and we find ourselves torn between the two.

Whether you’re in the field of marketing, web design, or costume-making, it’s not unusual to find yourself working until later than planned or replying to emails at an unseemly hour. The question is: How can we maintain a healthy balance between our professional and personal lives? How can we continue to develop our careers while fully tending to ourselves, our families, and our loved ones?

The path to a good work-life balance may be long and twisted, but the following work-life balance tips can help you achieve your goals.

Working from home with distractions

How to attain work-life balance while working from home

  • Set a structured work schedule.

    To maximize your productivity and workday while working remotely, it is imperative that you set a coherent schedule to guide you through the day. Since working from home can be more comfortable and relaxing compared to being in the office, imposing a structure on your day will reduce distractions and keep you focused on the tasks at hand.

  • Have separate areas for work and play.

    It is recommended that you have a dedicated workspace to help you stay focused when working remotely, but this is just as important when the workday is over. Having separate areas for work and play also makes it easier to move mentally from work to home mode. If you live in a one-room apartment, you can still create a dedicated area for a variety of activities. More important than having walls that separate each area is the function you assign to them in your mind.

  • Make post-work plans.

    Even with a strict work schedule, it’s all too easy to find yourself caught up in your work and working extra hours. It’s not always easy to know when to let go and continue tomorrow. Making plans for the end of your working day can be a good solution to this. Unless there is a task that needs to be completed today, deciding on a specific time plan can help you move from work-mode to you-mode. Whether you’re planning to meet your friends, attend a yoga class, or try a new Baking Craze, focusing on personal time, can also be crucial to your overall well-being and help bring about a positive work-life balance.

  • Eat a proper lunch.

    While eating snacks all day while a step away from your refrigerator sounds amazing, it doesn’t do anything to boost your productivity or work-life balance while you work from home. At work, we may be more forced to take a lunch break when your colleagues remind you – it doesn’t happen at home. Make sure you set aside time for a proper break in your day. Set a calendar or phone call. It’s even better to have a virtual lunch break with your team so that you can connect with each other and get a good time out.

  • Drop the shame and embarrassment of interruptions.

    Don’t worry about your family members or pets appearing as uninvited guests on your phone calls. It’s one less thing to stress about, plus it’s fun to watch.

  • Don’t use your work computer during your free time.

    Just like having different workplaces for work and private life, it’s important to separate your work tools from your play tools. The most obvious example of this is your laptop. Some people have two laptops instead of one: one for doing your job, the other for leisure that doesn’t have access to business correspondence and work tools.

  • Get dressed for work.

    You may not be leaving the house, but that doesn’t mean you should be in your pajamas all day. Switching from home clothes to work clothes can also help you make a mental shift, get you to work in the right state of mind-or relax. There’s no need to wear a three-piece suit, or even to put on your shoes, but you might find that preparing yourself physically for the day ahead will also prepare you mentally. Treat your home office as a real working environment. Some people find it helpful to separate work clothes from home clothes. Once your workday is over, try to change your outfit to clearly mark the end of your work duties and the beginning of your personal time.

  • Use organization tools to increase your productivity.

    Use organizational tools like Google Calendar, Asana, etc. to block specific workday periods to increase workflow. Usually, when working from home, teams are mounted on conference calls to ensure that deadlines are met and communication does not falter. However, you can still make use of time gaps in your calendar to make sure you ‘re productive and get your work done.

  • Build transitions into and out of work.

    Your commute not only takes you to and from work, but also gives your brain time to prepare for your day and decompress. Just because you don’t have that journey, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the same routine to ease into and out of your day. We often take our journey time for granted and just wish we could get there faster. But rarely do we identify the opportunity that it gives us to prepare mentally. Generally, you don’t sign up for a major project and go straight to dinner. Give your brain time to hit the reset button again. Have a signal to serve as a buffer at the beginning and the end of your day.

  • Mark the end of the day.

    Schedule some time to celebrate the end of your working day with your loved ones and/or roommates with 1-2 fun activities. You did it! It’s the end of your working day, and you feel accomplished and able to do it. What better way to celebrate with your loved ones or your roommates? Think of a bonding activity that you could do together to close the day off.

Written by Christoph Nauer.
Christoph is a Brian Tracey certified Time Management Master.