How many of us are working from home?
A few years before Covid-19 work-life balance was being looked at and discussed–even before so many of us were working from home. Now these discussions are needed so much more than they were then!
Technology allows work emails, text messages, and phone calls to intrude our “off-work” hours and now working from home we find it even more difficult to “turn off”. Concerted effort is essential to find balance. Here are some tips and tricks to help you develop a better work-life balance!
#1 HAVE A DEDICATED WORK SPACE
You need an area that you can dedicate as your work area. A designated area to do your work that is specific for working only. This is your “work only zone”. This not only helps you focus while working but helps you switch off when your workday is done and you leave your designated workspace. If you can’t designate a specific room, pick a corner or side of a room. Try to be near a window for some natural light because it’s not only better for your eyes it also help lifts your mood and makes a better environment. We all always wanted that corner window office….now you can have it!
#2 DRESS FOR WORK
Just as you would when you would actually go into the office it’s important to keep your routine of getting ready for work and dressing for work. This puts you in the right mindset, helps you focus and tells your body it’s time to work.
#3 MAKE A SCHEDULE
Just like when you work from an office it’s important to have a consistent routine. You should create a consistent schedule. This helps you keep a reliable routine of work hours and off-work hours. It helps you control your work and non-work hours.
#4 TRANSITION TO AND FROM WORK
Just like you would if you were actually commuting. Take time to and from your workspace to give your brain time to prepare for your day and decompress from your day after work. This helps you mentally switch from home mode to work mode and then from work mode to home mode. You do this by building transitions into and out of work. We take for granted that commute time…it actually gives us the opportunity to mentally prepare for the day or unwind from the day on the other side. Maybe this is reading an article or the newspaper while drinking your morning coffee before heading into your workspace. It could be going for a walk and enjoying nature for 15 minutes before starting your day. Go for a brief walk after your work day is over or play a quick game with your kids. This helps you mentally switch back to “home mode” by changing your focus to a different and personal activity. Choose an activity that you enjoy or try new ones and switch between the ones you enjoy most. Figure out what makes you feel good. Learning what activities recharge you is an active process. Maybe a dinner out with friends or dinner with family, walks, reading a new book, trying your hand at drawing or painting, keeping a journal, yoga, mediation, listening to your favorite music, spending time with your pet, a personal phone call to a friend or family member….there are so many great options. Find the ones you enjoy most and that revive and recharge you.
#5 TAKE TIME TO SOCIALIZE
Just like you would if you were in the office, take a few minutes and call a co-worker to ask about their weekend. Talk with work colleagues a couple times throughout the day. Have a video coffee break. Catch up on family news, reach out and share that joke or meme or discuss the recent movie or series you have watched. Random social interactions help break up your day and keep you connected.
#6 GET RID OF TIME WASTERS
Don’t be busy….be productive! Devote your attention to activities that are the best use of your time. Beware of social media and create boundaries. Be mindful of the effects social media can have on you and the time it can actually steal from you. Are you following positive and inspiring feeds or do you find yourself depressed or discouraged after scrolling through your feed? Clean it up and be aware of how much time it is taking from your day and how it makes you feel. Choose wisely. Figure out what actually makes you feel good and recharges you and choose these activities.
#7 SELF CARE
Don’t forget to take breaks, if you sit all day make sure you get up and get away from your desk a couple of times throughout the day. Take your lunch. Do some desk stretches and breathing exercises. Do some self check ins to make sure you are sitting properly and your set up is correct. Breathing exercises are great! Take a deep breath in and sit up straight focus on pulling your shoulders back….doesn’t that feel better already? Other aspects of self care happen after work hours. Make sure you take time to relax–regularly set aside time for you to do things you enjoy. Try new things. Volunteer. Be involved in your community. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to do something recognizing we will feel better after we do.
#8 TIME MANAGEMENT
Plan your time. Have committed “deep work” time. Set aside a block of time avoiding distractions to commit to focused work time. This is your specified time for important tasks. Turn off your email notifications and your phone. There are actually apps that can help with this. They are focus apps….check out Forest–the app grows a virtual tree for a set amount of time making your phone unavailable during this time. Focus and tackle those important tasks and get them done.
#9 PLAN YOUR AFTER WORK TIME
When you are available all the time – your workday never ends! When everyone is locked in and there isn’t much life outside the home, it is difficult to break yourself away from work. In order to not stay stuck or get stuck working extra long hours it’s important to plan after work activities. Go for a walk, run, bike ride, hike, prepare dinner together with your family, schedule a personal phone call….whatever helps you have a specific reason to “leave” work on time.
#10 CHANGE YOUR SCENERY
You might find yourself hitting a wall or in a slump…try a change in scenery. Hit a local café that has Wi-Fi or try a co-op work space. Open up your creativity. Network and foster new relationships. Maybe take your break sitting outside for 10 to 15 minutes with open eyes and open ears just listening to and enjoying nature.
There isn’t one tried and true rule to finding the right work-life balance as everyone’s situations are unique. It may be hardest for those without kids in the home to change their focus and mindset and understand the need for the work-life balance and the benefits it will create in their life—better health, less stress, more energy. Each of us needs to find what works best for us and our families.
Some of these can go into complete blogs on their own. Make sure to follow and stay tuned as there will be more to come…
Stay sunny! Be someone’s sunshine today! -Sunnyvibes