For many of us working from home has quickly become less of a luxury and more of a necessity.
At first working from home may seem like the dream, no commute, no distracting co-workers and you may even squeeze in a few cheeky house chores on your breaks. However, the novelty will soon wear off.
You are now effectively your own boss and it can be lonely; cabin fever sets in and there’s no real end to your working day. Suddenly making a clear distinction between a work-life balance is your biggest challenge. Here are our 10 tips for overcoming these issues and others.
- Maintain regular hours
Set a schedule and stick to it! Often your morning commute can help you wake up and by the time you get in your ready to work. Going from your pillow to the computer can be a much more difficult transition.
Having a clear guide when to work and when to call it a day can help maintain a better work-life balance. Set clear ground rules and now that you have a morning commute out of the way you can make a start on your to-do list earlier.
- Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
Prepare like you’re going to the office otherwise you might find yourself back in bed! Set your alarm, wake up, put on a pot of coffee or go for a jog now that you can avoid the morning commute.
Wear something office appropriate, for many the dream is going to work in your PJ’s but for most its counterproductive and blurs the lines between office and home life. Sofa surfing will have a negative impact or your work and leisure time, assigning yourself a dedicated workspace will allow your mind to be more organised and focused.
- Take a break
Your office has a policy on breaks and it’s important to adhere to them at home also. Segment your day or work schedule taking your breaks into account. Taking the time to walk away from your workspace will prevent burn out and help you stay focused and productive.
Don’t short-change yourself, if you return to your desk after 40 minutes walk away for another 20 minutes.
- Set boundaries
Make sure your housemates, partner, children, or even the dog know you’re at work. Just because your working from home doesn’t mean you’re home! Ensure they respect your space during work hours.
- Plan to succeed
Plan out what you’ll be working on ahead of time. Spending time wondering what you’re going to do for the day will just eat into your productivity. It’s important to let your agenda change if you need it to, but it’s equally as important to commit to an agenda that outlines every assignment before you begin.
- Stay connected
Working from home may give you a better focus, but it can also make you feel cut off from what’s happening in the office. Instant messaging applications and videoconferencing tools can make it easy to check in with co-workers and remind you how your work is part of a bigger picture.
- Match your Music
For a lot of us, music is a soundtrack to our day. If you listen to music at work or tune into a particular radio station do the same at home. Unknowingly listening to a particular station structures your working day.
These stations will usually have a Morning, afternoon, evening, or home time slot. The music you like triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin which help you feel relaxed and happy and, therefore, focus better.
- Phasing out your Phone
Where you can set up a phone you only use for calls with colleagues and clients. Similar to some of these other points having a separate phone helps you manage your work-leisure balance.
Having a separate phone with also make it easier to avoid checking your social media apps every 10 minutes! Social media is designed to access easily and receiving notifications can be distracting.
If you do need to use your private phone during office house, a top tip is to log out of every social account. It’s a guarantee that you won’t be tempted to take too many social breaks during the day.
- End the day with a routine.
Just as you would start the day with a routine its important to create a habit that signifies the end of your working day.
You might have a simple routine such as shutting down your computer and turning on a favourite podcast. Whatever you choose, do it consistently to mark the end of working hours.