Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a freelancer, or you work for somebody else, there is no denying that working from home definitely has its perks — no commute time, freshly cooked lunch, increased flexibility, ability to multi-task, and so much more.
But, it can also have its challenges, and when there are blurred lines between work and life, it can be easy to fall into bad habits that will leave you feeling like you no longer have a home life.
Here are four super simple and practical strategies you can implement to ensure you can still maintain a healthy work-life balance when you work from home:
1. Set boundaries with your work hours
While working from home provides increased flexibility, if you don’t keep a close eye on your work habits, you may find yourself working more and more hours.
It is important to be disciplined with your work hours. Whether you have hours set by an employer, or you dictate your own hours, it’s good practice to decide what hours you are going to work, keep track of the time, and stick to the hours you have said you are going to do.
It will always be tempting to want to continue ploughing through your to-do list, especially if you’re on a roll or in the middle of a more complex task. But if you’re not careful, this quickly can turn counterproductive.
Setting boundaries with your work hours means you can be productive when you need to be, without feeling guilty about switching off and enjoy your life once you are done.
2. Separate your work space from your living space
The importance of separating your working environment from your home environment can not be stressed enough.
Physically separating each space will make it easier for you to mentally compartmentalise your work life from your home life as well.
This might be quite easy to do if you have a distinct work area set up in your home such as a home office, study or even just a desk. You occupy that area when you are working and keep distance from it when you’re not.
But what if you don’t have a separate workspace? Well, you can still put strategies in place to separate work from home. All you need to do is ensure that at the end of each workday you tidy and pack away your work equipment and materials.
If you work from your dining room or kitchen table, remove your work items at the end of the day so the space is cleared. If you work from your lounge or bed, as soon as you have finished work, pack your laptop and papers away so they are out of sight.
The key is to create physical separation so you can create mental separation and ensure a healthy balance between your work and home lives.
3. Remove distractions to avoid temptation
This works both ways! You want to ensure you remove any non work-related distractions and temptations when you are supposed to be working. But, by the same token, you also want to make sure you remove any temptations to work when you are clocked off.
Some things you can do when you are focused on work, to avoid distractions, include:
- Turn notifications off on your phone
- Strategically set yourself up somewhere in the house where you won’t be bothered by others
- Refrain from scheduling any other commitments during work hours.
Essentially, you should try to apply the same discipline you would as if your boss was looking over your shoulder all day.
Some things you can do when you are clocked off, to avoid the temptation to catch up on work, include:
- Ensure your work documents and equipment is out of sight
- Turn work email notifications off on your phone
- If you use a work phone and you are not required to be on call, turn it off.
When you are working, you want to be as productive as you possibly can be. Likewise, during the hours that you are not working, you do not want to be tempted to pull out the laptop to catch up on some work as you need this time to refresh and enjoy life!
4. Get out of the house at least once a day
Staying in the house all day for one day might be nice. But doing it day after day is not good for your productivity or your sanity.
When you work from your home, it becomes even more important to ensure you are getting out of the house at least once a day. It doesn’t have to be for a long period of time, you could simply go for a short walk, go to the gym, or pop to the shops.
If it’s not an option for you right now due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, try instead spending some time on your balcony or backyard (if you have one), or any common areas in your apartment.
Changing up your environment works wonders for stimulating new ideas and allowing you to return to work more refreshed and more productive.
This article was originally published on A Girl In Progress.