When you work from home all the time, the lines between your home and professional lives can blur. While this may not be a problem for some, it can be a problem if you have a family and want to spend quality time with them. Here are some pointers on how to achieve that elusive work-life balance while still making the most of your children while they are still little, and enjoying time to yourself too.
Dress For Work
If you worked in an office, you would wake up and dress appropriately based on the dress code. When you work from home, it's tempting to remain in your pajamas or wear lounge pants or a tracksuit all day. One rule to follow is that if you wouldn't wear it to the workplace or a meeting, don't wear it at home.
You don't have to dress up in a suit or wear high heels all day, but whatever you wear should be sophisticated and not something you'd wear when playing with the kids or going to the movies. If you're going to do such activities after work, change your clothes – this will help you distinguish between work and leisure time and help when it comes to your work-life balance.
Have A Separate Work Area
If you work from home, it's ideal to have a distinct work area away from the rest of the house. A second bedroom converted into a study, or a section of another room that's ordinarily empty, at least during the day, is ideal. If possible, try to screen off your work area so that while your 'door' is closed, your family knows not to bother you.
Whatever you do, don't set up your workstation in the same area where your kids will be playing or watching TV – although it might seem like a good idea to keep an eye on what they're doing, it will distract you, make you less productive, and force you to work longer hours. At the end of the day, you can leave the workplace and spend time with your family. Just don't try to open it again and keep working; there has to be an end.
If you want to take some time off work to attend a school play, take your kids to the park, or just relax, don't forget about automation. What exactly is automation? Automation is all about putting processes in place so you don't have to do the work. Consider your marketing, for example; putting your marketing plan in place and then forgetting about it means you'll have a lot more time to do other things. You can compose newsletters and schedule them to be delivered at a later date, or you can write Facebook or Twitter updates and schedule them to be posted at a later date. Even if you are unable to be at your desk, automation allows you to stay in contact with your customers.
Schedule Your Time
Depending on how you work and what you want to accomplish, you may find it helpful to set aside time for certain tasks. You could work for two hours, then spend an hour with your children, then do some cleaning or other errands, then return to work for another fixed period of time, and so on.
As long as you are focused on what you are doing and when you are doing it and are realistic about how much you can – and must – accomplish, this can work exceptionally well and provide you with the perfect work-life balance.
Take Care Of Your Home
You wouldn't expect to go into work and find that the office building was in need of a clean and tidy, or that it had to be repaired in some way. So why should that be the case at home? Just because no one else can see it, that doesn't mean that a clean and tidy place to work isn't important. In fact, when you work in a messy, cluttered place, you'll be a lot less productive because subconsciously (and even consciously), you'll be worrying about it all.
Set some time aside to clean your home regularly, and if you can't do this, then hire someone to help you – it will be worth it in terms of how much more work you can do and how better your work-life balance will be.
Make sure the property itself is in good condition too. Roof repair should be seen to, the décor should be updated, and any plumbing issues must be fixed, as well as anything else that needs to be done.
Exercise should be the first thing we make time for when our routine is interrupted in such a significant manner as suddenly working from home. Exercise lowers stress, increases endorphins, and improves your mood. The good thing is that you don't need an hour – or even close to it – to work out. Begin by stretching for fifteen minutes with yoga. It will provide you with the same advantages (although on a smaller scale) as a full gym workout, as well as an additional feeling of achievement and self-care.
It's understandable that when gyms and sports facilities are closed, it can be difficult to find other forms of exercise. Many trainers and gyms now offer online courses, and you can even find free classes on YouTube. While working from home, exercise is a great way to attain a work-life balance.
Don't Forget To Socialize
When the whole workplace begins working from home, you will be cut off from many informal everyday contacts. If you're not accustomed to working alone, this can be isolating and even upsetting. For some, it's a problem for their mental health. Random social encounters can break up your day and make it seem unique, while isolation may make every day feel like Groundhog Day, except we're all working.
Combat this by interacting with your colleagues often during the day. Take a video lunch break, ask what they did over the weekend, find out about their family news, share a joke or meme, or just discuss the shows you're presently binge-watching. Continue to converse with them on a certain topic as normal.
When working from home, these little encounters can help you maintain your work-life balance.
Use Productivity Tools
One frequent issue for remote employees is productivity. Fortunately, there are many excellent productivity apps that will help you automate your everyday chores. These technologies enable efficient cooperation, which leads to increased productivity. Some of the most effective productivity tools are:
Other programs to consider are Evernote, Microsoft 365, Join.Me, LastPass, and Buffer, to name a few. Many times, one productivity tool is insufficient. As a result, you might use a variety of tools to handle various elements of project, team, and time management. The majority of these tools have an easy-to-use UI, meaning they are simple to use and need little to no training.
The first advantage of utilizing productivity tools is a noticeable increase in job quality. On top of this, these technologies improve team communication and minimize time-consuming paperwork.
Home chores and other things can quickly distract you while working from home, which could lead to you attempting to multitask to do more things in a shorter amount of time. But did you realize that multitasking often jeopardizes your efficiency and can even harm your brain?
Many people believe that multitasking or moving from one activity to another improves your performance. In actuality, though, all this does is decrease productivity; some studies estimate by as much as 40 percent.
That may seem harsh, but continuous exposure to multitasking harms your ability to learn and may even lead you to fall behind. Frequent multitasking impairs cognitive abilities and decreases IQ. You could lose your capacity to tell the difference between essential and non-essential activities. Multitasking also lowers performance, causes tasks to take longer, and creates stressful backlogs.
As a result, don't allow distractions to eat into your project time. You can do these tasks during your break.
Learn To Say No
Many people find it difficult to say no because they are afraid of being rebuked, rejected, or disappointed. We are taught to be nice people, so we are used to saying yes, which causes us to get anxious because then we just have too much to do. This ultimately jeopardizes your mental health, particularly if you are very busy.
The answer to this issue is to learn to say no. Saying no when you are overburdened demonstrates professionalism and emphasizes the importance of your time. While saying no, be polite, straightforward, and respectful.
The words you choose to say no make a big impact. Include words like support, responsibility, priority, and dedication in your answer. You should avoid negative comments or phrases at all costs. You can also follow your answer with a brief explanation so that others understand the reasoning. Use a win-win strategy by recommending someone else who has the same or more relevant knowledge and capacity. Finally, don't forget to express your appreciation for being asked for something essential. Say something like, "I appreciate that you thought of me."
WRITTEN BYSerena K. Johnson