If you’re lucky enough to work from home, then you already know it comes with some amazing benefits. Some of us have been doing so for a long time now and others are just joining the work from home lifestyle due to the pandemic. Regardless, here are some of the perks of working from home:
- Enjoying a relaxed dress code
- Sleeping in late
- Going for a run on your lunch hour
- Heading to the grocery store in the middle of the day and avoiding peak hours
- Spending more time with your family and friends
If you happen to be your own boss, you’re in an even better position since you can set your own hours and pick the clients you want. While chatting with other entrepreneurs and friends who are now learning how to manage this work from home lifestyle, I’ve noticed that no one really talks about whether or not they really have a work-life balance.
As it turns out, working and living out of the same space is not as easy as it sounds. That’s because many people find it hard to shut down and disconnect from their jobs when their phone or email is just a few steps away. While you may feel like you get more work done at home, you might actually be working overtime without even realizing it. So, how can you make sure that your work-from-home job doesn’t end up consuming your life? Here are some tips on how to maintain that much-needed balance and keep your sanity:
Tip #1 – Separate Your Workspace
The problem with living and working in the same place is that it’s hard to switch off from work and focus on yourself and your family. One way to separate yourself from your work is to create a dedicated office space so you can walk out of it at the end of the day and shut the door. A spare bedroom or den makes a great home office, or your basement or garage can even serve as your base.
When you finish work, shut off your computer and turn off your phone. If you use your personal phone for work, just let any business calls or unknown calls go to voicemail. At the end of your workday, walk out of your office both mentally and physically. While it may feel wrong to ignore phone calls and emails after working hours, remember that this is exactly what your office-bound coworkers get to do each day when they leave the office.
Tip #2 – Learn To Say No
When you don’t have the distractions of chatty coworkers, lunch outings, and impromptu meetings, you tend to stay glued to your seat and wrapped up in your work. But at a certain point, you need to say no to all the meetings and the phone calls so you don’t overextend yourself.
Start by blocking your lunch hour by putting a recurring appointment for yourself on your calendar, and include a reminder so you don’t accidentally work through it. Then, make sure to decline any lunchtime meetings or phone calls, and instead propose a different time. And if your manager asks you to take on another project, or if a client wants your services when you’re already fully booked, think carefully before saying yes. If it means long nights and weekends trying to keep up with deadlines, your work-life balance will go out the window. By consciously managing your work commitments, you can start reclaiming your personal time.
Tip #3 – Remember To Take Time For Yourself
When you work in an office and start noticing flu symptoms, your manager tells you to stay home until you feel better. Whether you like it or not, you’re forced to take time off for yourself. But when you work from home, it’s tempting to just work through an illness without taking the proper time you need for rest and recuperation. People who work from home often don’t use their available sick days for this very reason. The same thing can happen with paid time off and vacation days. If your work is at your fingertips, you might slide back into bad habits and reply to some emails or make some work calls while you’re on vacation. One way to nip this in the bud is to set an out-of-office reply in your email and record an out-of-office message for your voicemail. Knowing that people are getting these automated replies should make it a little easier to put work out of your mind when you’re out sick or on vacation.
It’s up to you to maintain a healthy work-life balance when you work from home because no one else is there watching you work. So take control of your work habits and you’ll begin to get your personal time back again.
With You –
P.S. If you’re sitting in front of your computer and wondering what to snack on next, check out this blog post I wrote featuring some healthy foods/snacks to give you energy.