For those of us fortunate enough to still have a job that can be done from home, there’s no doubt that we’ve had to adapt how we do our work to fit the WFH (work from home) lifestyle. Balancing work and private life is definitely more challenging now because the two are no longer physically separated. Now, the space in which we relax and the space in which we answer emails may be one and the same. So how do we know whether it’s time to work versus time to relax? Or rather, how can we make sure that we set aside our work computer in favor of some much needed down time?
Keep your routine
As much as you are able, keep a routine that’s similar to the one you had before. Get up at the same time and get ready as you usually would. That means, no pajamas! Now don’t think that you need to put on a suit and tie, unless that’s what you’re comfortable in. It can just be jeans or leggings and a shirt or your favorite, comfy maxi dress. But the point is that if you dress exclusively in pajamas each day, then separating work time from lounge time will be that much more difficult.
Furthermore, keep your normal work hours as much as possible including your usual lunch and snack times. When I worked in my office, I had pretty much the same oat bars around the same time each day. I try to keep that same routine. It instills a sense of normalcy into my day (and keeps me from over-snacking…for the most part).
Create a work space
Initially, when working from home, I did so from the comfort of my couch. This isn’t so bad, I thought. Wrong! Not only did I suffer from back pain just a few hours into the day but working from my couch also made me hella sleepy. By 11am, I could barely keep my eyes open. After some thought, and an attempt at working from my kitchen table and bar stool, I bought a desk and chair. This has made such a difference for me because I now have a space dedicated to working that is completely separate from my relaxing space. I also make it a point not to sit on my couch during work hours (except during lunch) so that I can stay in work mode and easily switch to lounge mode when my work day is complete. Just so you know, I’m not telling you to go out and buy a whole new office set up. Simply designating a space for your work, one that is separate from where you spend your downtime, can help.
Shoot the breeze
The one thing I miss the most about working in an office setting is seeing my colleagues everyday. There, I used to get up every few hours to stretch my legs and shoot the breeze with my office neighbors. Sometimes we vented about work, other times we just chatted about our weekend. Either way, it was a great way for us to check in with each other and get some steps in. And just because we work from home now doesn’t mean we can’t still take some time between emails and meetings to shoot the breeze! It may look different but it’s still one of my essentials for a balanced day. Whether we eat lunch together via Zoom or we chat each other just to check in – keeping that connection virtually is important. (Coincidentally, my friend Codie and I just released an entire podcast episode all about navigating that virtual support network!).
What are some strategies you have used to balance your work from home life? Leave them in the comments below!