How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance When You Work from Home
Maintaining a ‘work-life balance’ is widely regarded as important for your health and wellbeing. However, when you work from home, you can’t simply leave your job at the office. If your living space starts to feel too much like a workplace, it can become difficult to relax and step back from your career.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your career from encroaching on your personal life, even if they take place in the same space. Then you can enjoy all the benefits of working out of your house as well as the benefits of a healthy balance between your job and your relationships and hobbies.
In this article, we’ll discuss what a work-life balance looks like and why it’s important to have one. Then we’ll share four tips on how to maintain balance when you work from home. Let’s get started!
The Importance of a Healthy Work-Life Balance
It can be hard to define what an ideal work-life balance looks like, especially because it’s different for everyone. It’s more about whether you’re achieving a sense of both accomplishment and enjoyment in all areas of your life than it is about counting up hours.
To get a grasp of this, an activity log can help you assess whether your time is being spent on things you enjoy. You can also try taking a stress level test. Your results could indicate if you’re under too much pressure, which could indicate that you’re not experiencing enough achievement or enjoyment.
An unhealthy balance between your job and your personal life could result in chronic stress, poor physical health, and fatigue. Putting all your efforts into your career and not nurturing other areas of your life (or vice versa), endangers not only your relationships and potential for enjoyment of other activities, but your health as well.
How to Maintain a Work-Life Balance When You Work from Home (4 Key Tips)
It can be difficult to hold yourself accountable and preserve boundaries between your job and your personal life, especially when you work from home. These tips will help you build balance into your day!
1. Have a Designated Workspace to Distinguish Between Your Roles
Setting up separate areas for your various roles can help create distinctions between them. A dedicated workspace keeps your materials (such as files or invoices) organized so they don’t get lost or mixed in with personal documents.
If you have the space, turning a room into a dedicated office will help ‘contain’ your work life. When you’re done for the day, you can close the door to keep your job out of sight and mind. If you don’t have a spare room, a desk in a specific area can be suitable too.
Creating some distance will create even firmer boundaries. Coworking spaces keep your job out of your home, and also provide a sense of community with others. This is a great way to help lessen the isolation of working remotely.
2. Set Working Hours to Save Time for Your Personal Life
Even for people who don’t work at home, it can be tempting to check your business email, or squeeze in another task even when you’re off the clock. When all your projects are easy to access, it’s hard not to always have one quick thing you could do.
Establishing and sticking to set working hours is key to a healthy balance. Writing your hours down and holding yourself accountable for not doing anything work-related outside of them will give you back certain parts of the day to spend time on other activities.
Daily breaks and regular vacations are also important. While they may seem superfluous, they can actually boost productivity, happiness, and health benefits to all areas of your life. Marking your vacations on a calendar can help you plan for and follow through with them.
3. Change Your Clothes to Influence Your Attitude
Many people consider wearing sweatpants to your job a perk of working from home. Unfortunately, your clothes impact your attitude more than you might realize, and staying in your pajamas could make it difficult to draw a line between getting to work, and relaxing.
A smart-looking wardrobe, even if no one will see it, can help you feel more professional during working hours. A change in attitude away from overly-comfortable could help reduce distractions and increase performance.
Likewise, having distinct clothes for relaxing can help you unwind and separate yourself from your job. When you’ve trained your brain to associate slacks with working attentively and sweatpants with lounging on the couch, you’ll be better able to switch between different roles.
4. Create Work-Related Rituals to Get in the Right Mindset
Daily rituals are powerful habits that can make or break your work-life balance. By attaching meaning to certain routines, rituals can help you switch between mindsets to increase your focus on the task at hand, be it job-related or personal.
A simple way to establish rituals is by taking your current habits and instilling new meaning in them. For example, if you always have a morning cup of coffee, waiting until you’re at your desk to drink it can help you start to associate your morning beverage with beginning work.
Preparing your environment is another common ritual many use to get into the mindset to start work. This might mean having a special pen you only use on the job, or gathering your materials for the day’s tasks before tackling your ‘to-do’ list.
Working from home presents its own unique challenges, especially when it comes to maintaining a work-life balance. However, by incorporating a few simple changes into how you structure your job, you can drastically improve the harmony between your career and the other things that matter to you.
In this article, we’ve examined what it means to achieve a work-life balance, and why it’s important to do so. Then, we shared four tips to help you maintain this when you work from home:
- Have a dedicated workspace to distinguish between your roles.
- Set working hours to save time for your personal life.
- Change your clothes to influence your attitude.
- Create work-related rituals to get in the right mindset.
Do you have questions about maintaining a work-life balance while working from home? Ask away in the comments section below!