9 Practical Ways To Maintain A Work-life Balance Working From Home
If you are not a key worker tackling the coronavirus from the frontline, you are likely working remotely. And if you are struggling to balance work life with home life, don’t worry – you’re in the same boat as most. But it doesn’t have to be that way – all you need is some work from home management and you will be good to go!
See, the thing is, we don’t know how long this is going to last. And if you have unhealthy work from home habits, you’ll pull through in the short-term but it will bring you nothing but trouble in the long run.
So isn’t it better to fix things from the get go?
We certainly think it is.
Which is why we’ve gathered a list of certain things you should do if you want to stay sane and manage to remain productive without disrupting your home life too much.
- 1. Create a strict timeframe for work to manage your time well.
- 2. Get the major chunk of work out of the way in the morning.
- 3. Get your sleep schedule back on track.
- 4. Work in isolation to avoid distractions.
- 5. Set up a home office.
- 6. Make social media a NO-GO zone during your “work hours.”
- 7. Keep office work separate from the chores.
- 8. Make room in your work from home management schedule for a workout.
- 9. Take care of your mental health.
- Balance work life and home life? Check!
1. Create a strict timeframe for work to manage your time well.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, it is quite easy to lose track of time when you’re at home.
One minute, you have that report open in front of you and the next thing you know, you’re watching a video on YouTube. Four hours later, you’re still on YouTube and the amount of work has piled up in the meantime.
Another common mistake is thinking you have all the time in the world. It’s easy to tell yourself that you have all day (AND all night) to get the work done. Because you do!
So you are more likely to put it off until you absolutely HAVE to sit down and get it done. This can mean one of two things:
- You’ll have the laptop open in your lap all day and all night in an attempt to get the work done but somehow managing to put it off and waste time.
- You’ll only sit down at your table at the last moment but the work will hang over your head all day, meaning you’ll be stressed and won’t be able to enjoy the day anyway.
Neither of these is worth it. Which is why you need work from home management.
So what can you do? Follow the routine you had when you went out to work and be strict about it. So if you had a 9-5, be at your work desk at 9 in the morning and off it at 5 in the evening, no matter what happens.
It’s okay if you want to sleep in and move your workday from 11 to 7 but stick to that timeframe. There must be no work outside of this window.
This will take a lot of discipline in the beginning but you will thank yourself later.
Which brings us to our next point:
2. Get the major chunk of work out of the way in the morning.
Hey, if you’re a night owl and that is the time when you know for a fact you are most productive, well and good – that is the time that you should be working.
But a lot of morning people are suffering terribly because their routines are messed up.
Here is our take on the matter:
Get work done in the morning!
Redbooth, a project management software firm conducted research to determine the time at which the majority of office employees are at their most productive.
They found that the most productive time of the day to be 11 a.m. But if we were to create a range where the average employee is most productive, according to Redbooth’s data, it would start at around 9 a.m. and go all the way up to 4 p.m., after which productivity takes a massive hit.
And this is supported by various other studies too.
Productivity is linked to a number of factors, and the time of day is an important one. So try and get most of the work done in the first half of the day. Or at least the complex tasks.
This is when you are well-rested, fresh, in a better mood, and much more motivated to get the job done.
If you find this hard to do, encourage yourself to get work done in the morning by scheduling other activities in the evening.
Tell your kid playtime starts at 5, followed by a walk, dinner, and then a bedtime story – trust us, you will have NO choice but to finish up work early.
All it takes is some hefty work from home management.
This next point is related to the previous one:
3. Get your sleep schedule back on track.
People who were used to a morning routine because of work are now finding it more and more difficult to keep their sleep schedule on track – it is all the more tempting to stay up late chilling, watching movies, chatting with friends, and so on.
And if your sleep schedule is messed up, there is no way you’re going to be able to follow our first two pieces of advice.
There are many things you can do to fix this. Here are some:
- Set an alarm for early in the morning and make it a habit to jog, run, or work out OUTDOORS. Once you get used to the early morning stress-free outdoor sessions, you’ll never go back. Remember, though, to stay safe when out of the house!
- Schedule early meetings. If you have a catch-up call with your team at 9 a.m., you’ll be up before 9.
- Give your kids the job – you will never sleep late again.
When you wake early, you will inevitably end up going to bed on time.
One way or the other, put some effort into bringing your sleep schedule back to normal and maintaining it there.
4. Work in isolation to avoid distractions.
Let’s suppose you are working on an important document and your little one comes into the room for cuddles. Cute little thing that he or she is, you let them stay in the room while you get back to work. Cool. Or is it?
No matter how many times you tell them to shh, they WILL talk to you every two minutes. And with your concentration divided, you are all the more likely to make a mistake.
What will that do?
Let’s not even talk about the kind of trouble that’ll get you in with your boss – that’s a given. But you will also have to redo the work, which is a waste of time and effort. It takes away from the time you could actually be spending with your kid, giving them your undivided attention.
Wouldn’t it have been better to get the work done in isolation and then tending to your fatherly duties? We thought so.
That is why it is important – whether you have kids (or family or pets) or not – to work in a space where you have no distractions – to balance work life with everything you need to do at home. This could be a spare room, the attic, or even your own room as long as you lock the door while you’re working.
Which brings us to our next point:
You don’t need a cubicle and a swiveling office chair to set up a temporary office space in your home. On the contrary, the office chair will likely do more harm than good when you find yourself spinning around the room every few minutes (we know you’re guilty).
You do, however, need a spot where you can focus strictly on work.
Here’s how you can do that:
- Set up a chair and desk where you can work – lying in bed with your laptop is guaranteed to land you on Netflix at least once in a while!
- Keep the space free from distractions (refer back to the last point).
- Try to use a space with a lot of light – dim spaces may negatively affect your productivity, efficiency, motivation, and even your overall health and mood.
- Make sure you’re comfortable in the space you choose – if you are claustrophobic, for example, you won’t get much done in a small attic.
This list can go on. What you’re trying to do, at the end of the day, is to create a space where you will be comfortable, attentive, and focused. Even if it is temporary – because you definitely want your job to remain permanent.
According to Statista, the average internet user spends 144 minutes every day on social media.
Self-isolation, though, has made matters worse – the shelter in place is making us more and more dependent on these apps to stay in touch with our loved ones and the world.
And while not quite the ideal situation, this may work for someone who’s free. You, however, are still working from home full-time need to balance work life, home life, AND social media life.
Which is why you need to stay away from social media at all costs while you work. Checking your phone every few minutes will make you much less productive and you will waste a lot more time.
Try these work from home management tips when it comes to social media:
- Turn off your phone when you are working (only if you don’t need the phone for work).
- Leave your phone in another room.
- Sign out all your accounts on your phone so you don’t get notifications in the first place.
- Keep the social media accounts signed out on your laptop or desktop too.
When you’re done with work, you can catch up with everything that has happened in your friends’ lives during the last few hours.
7. Keep office work separate from the chores.
We have pretty much covered the gist of this work from home management technique when we talked about working in isolation and having a strict schedule.
But here, we’re talking about chores while you’re working from home.
Ever thought to yourself while you were working, “oh, let me go put the clothes in the washing machine first. They’ll be done by the time I’m done with this report.”
That’s that first step into a trap that will destroy the balance of work life and home life you’re so desperately trying to maintain.
Once you’re off your “work seat,” your concentration takes a blow.
You’ll throw the clothes in the washer, pet the dog, chat with your partner, and by the time you’re back, you’ll be in a completely different frame of mind. By the time you get your focus back, the machine will be beeping for you to take the clothes out. And the cycle will begin again.
Unless you’re great at multitasking and taking short breaks at appropriate intervals boosts your productivity, leave the chores for off-work hours – just like you would on a normal work day.
Here are some great tips to manage chores when you work remotely:
8. Make room in your work from home management schedule for a workout.
Most of us don’t get much exercise in our normal routines.
But going out of the house for work means we’ll be getting at least some physical activity in.
Now that you’re working from home though, staying in bed all day long is very tempting. Even if you don’t do that, the amount of physical activity you engage in has taken a plunge.
This is why it is important to start working out. You can do some yoga, go for a run around the neighborhood,
Being active has a massive effect on your health. And only when you are healthy will you be able to successfully balance work life with your home life.
The situation nowadays is uncertain and scary to say the least. With the number of Corona-positive cases and deaths going up in more cases than not, it is easy to experience, depression, and other mental health issues.
Being in a sound frame of mind is a must if you want to keep on meeting your deadlines from home while also taking care of other responsibilities.
How can you ensure that? Here are some things you can do:
- Make sure you and your loved ones are taking all the precautions to keep yourself safe.
- Don’t expose yourself to the news all the time. What is happening will last its course but worrying about it endlessly will do no one any favors.
- Do good to feel good. Help people out, donate when you can, and make yourself useful.
- Keep yourself busy. Find a new hobby, clear out at attic, read that book that’s been on the fireplace for months. Find ways to keep your mind and body engaged.
- Work out – as we mentioned above, it’s a must for your health.
- Talk it out. Share your feelings and concerns with your friends and family. You always feel lighter after venting to a loved one.
- Seek professional help if it is getting out of hand. Learn how you can engage in online therapy here.
Balance work life and home life? Check!
These tips are tried and tested and we know for a fact that they work wonders when you want to balance work life and domestic life.
But work from home management requires a lot of discipline. It’s an uphill journey – we won’t lie to you – but it is a necessary one to take.
Do you have any other tips that work for you? Share them with us and let’s get back on track together!