In a physical space where you work, eat, sleep, and watch series, finding a balance between work and daily life can be difficult. We sometimes find ourselves torn between these two boundaries as the boundaries blur.
These days, no matter what industry you're in, working later than planned or answering emails at unseemly hours is not uncommon.
In order to maintain a healthy balance between our professional and personal lives, we need to ask ourselves: How can we manage them? If we are at the beginning stage of building our professional profiles or expanding them, how can we continue to develop our careers at the same time as caring for ourselves, our families and our loved ones?
Work-life balance is a long and twisting road, but these tips can help you get there.
What is work-life balance, and why is it important?
An individual's work-life balance is the way in which they balance their professional and personal responsibilities.
In order to avoid overworking, you shouldn't necessarily distribute your time equally, but rather create a lifestyle that doesn't overwork you. You will have more time and energy to spend on your personal life if you maintain a good work-life balance, which means making sure you spend time with friends, enjoy time alone, and do things you enjoy.
It is possible for many factors to impact your work-life balance. The demands of your boss, your family obligations, and your responsibilities both at work and at home. Depending on the situation, some of these may be within your control, while others may be due to circumstances beyond your control.
Your overall well-being depends heavily on finding a healthy work-life balance. It can reduce stress levels, as well as the risk of burnout or creative block. Employees who are satisfied with their work-life balance are likely to be happier at work, which results in better performance, increased productivity, and greater commitment. Promoting a healthy work-life balance within your team can be an effective way to support employees who work remotely.
Tips on how to balance work and life
01. Schedule your work hours in advance
There is a high rate of overworking, particularly in certain industries and professions. It is very common for the moment you head home to signify the end of the working day, even if it is not in those cases.
If you work remotely from home, you don't have the same opportunity to move from one place to another, allowing you to physically disconnect from your work. Your computer is likely just a few steps away, regardless of whether you've moved from the desk to the couch or kitchen.
Setting specific work hours is one of the best time management tips for working from home - and making sure your colleagues and supervisor know about them as well. If you are using a shared calendar app, you can also note your hours on the calendar and share them with your colleagues. During your non-work hours, you are less likely to receive emails and meeting proposals.
Choose a start and end time for each day. Take your lunch break and take care of other personal responsibilities, like walking your dog or cooking for your family. In this way, you will be able to stick to your work hours more successfully thanks to a more realistic schedule.
02. Plan what to do after work
No matter how strict your schedule is, it's easy to get caught up in your tasks and work long hours. It's not always easy to let go and continue tomorrow.
The best way to handle this is to make plans for the end of the workday. It can be helpful to decide on a specific time for tasks unless they absolutely have to be completed today.
It's important to focus on personal time, whether to meet friends, attend a yoga class, or try out a new baking craze, to ensure you have a positive work-life balance.
03. Make sure your goals are realistic
Examine your schedule for the day and the week ahead. Determine what your priorities are at work: Is there a deadline you need to meet? How do you decide what is a must-have and what is a nice-to-have? You can set your goals and plan out your days once you know what needs to be accomplished this week.
Make your goals as realistic as possible to increase your chances of sticking with them. You can find plenty of time management apps out there that can help you. You will be more likely to adhere to deadlines and improve your productivity, which will free up your time for other activities.
Even if you don't write down specific goals regarding your personal life, it's a good idea to reflect on what you want to accomplish. How would you like to spend your day today, or the week? Maybe you've been meaning to meet up with a friend, work on an arts and crafts project, read a book, or do something that makes you happy.
04. Allow yourself to take breaks
You may not have colleagues around when you work from home, but that does not mean you shouldn't take proper breaks.
You must give yourself time to step away from your desk in order to maintain a healthy work/life balance. A good way to deal with stress at work is to remove yourself from your duties. Your mind will be refreshed and you'll be able to approach your tasks with a fresh perspective. Additionally, you may find that taking breaks will help you stay focused.
Make it a point to take a lunch break at a dedicated time, and to disconnect during this time. If you find it helpful, you can also take a few mini breaks every hour or so, for example, to take a short walk, stretch, or do some personal chores.
05. Set up a designated workspace
It's not always as glamorous as it seems when you work from home as a freelancer. If you live in a big house, you probably won't be drinking mocktails on your bed in front of a beautiful decor. It's actually not the best idea to work from your bed if you want to successfully balance work and life.
You should instead choose a convenient place at home to set up your office. This is an important tip for working from home: having a place at home for work will help you distinguish between work and leisure.
You should avoid working on your couch or bedroom, which are places you strongly associate with relaxation. Even if you don't have a dedicated workplace, you should create one that feels comfortable to you.
Avoid distractions by keeping your workspace organized and clean, whether you're working from your kitchen table or sharing a desk with a coworker. It is important that your work environment gets you in the right mood, so make sure you have everything you need, from a pen and notebook to headphones for listening to productivity music.
06. Keep yourself in good health
When you have so many responsibilities, it can sometimes be hard to take care of yourself. You should remember, however, that prioritizing your own well-being has numerous benefits. The more content and satisfied you are, the more successful and happy you will be as an employee, as a friend, partner, parent, and so on.
Apart from accepting that you will not always be able to balance work and life in the best possible way, there are a few practical things you can do to try to be good to yourself. It is especially important to give yourself some time to unwind after work, since you won't have to travel to and from the office. You should also unplug occasionally. Disconnect from the outside world, put down your smartphone, and take a moment to relax.
The last thing you should do is allocate time for yourself and your loved ones. Even if you don't have an unlimited amount of time, try to find small pockets of time where you can treat yourself and maintain relationships.
07. You need to get dressed for work
It may not be a part of your plan to leave the house, but that doesn't mean you should stay home all day. Changing from home clothes to work clothes can also help you make that mental shift, putting you in the right frame of mind for work.
Dressing appropriately for the day won't require a three piece suit, or even your shoes, but preparing physically will prepare you mentally as well. You should treat your home office as if it were a real workplace.
There are some people who find it helpful to separate their work clothes from their home clothes. Change your outfit after your workday is over to clearly indicate the end of your work responsibilities and the beginning of your personal life.
08. Imperfections are part of life
In spite of the fact that there are plenty of tips to help you achieve your lifestyle goals, you can't always expect your two worlds not to overlap. It is possible to do your best, but ultimately there are never-ending factors that can affect your work-life balance, such as your type of job, your work hours, and your family situation.
There are times when you need to accept that the separation between work and life isn't always ideal. It's not always possible to meet your expectations. It is not uncommon to have to answer a work call while spending time with your children, or to respond to an important email while enjoying your long-awaited date night.