7 Tips on Improving Work-life Balance While Working Remotely
The COVID pandemic forced many companies to shift to remote work. Without much preparation, employees were suddenly forced to work from their homes. While for some this was a positive change – they suddenly could sleep in and be more flexible with their time during the day, others found themselves in a messy brew of household chores, work emails, zoom calls, and family interruptions.
Work from home allows us to spend more time with our partners, kids, pets, and simply, ourselves, but what if you struggle to put aside your work, now that it can’t simply be left at the office? Of course, it is all about setting boundaries – easier said than done! Thankfully, we give you 7 clear and direct ways to achieve a better work-life balance when working remotely:
1. Create a Workspace
The number one tip every remote work expert gives is creating a workspace at home – decluttered and clear of any distractions. In some ways, it should resemble an office at home. This helps draw a clear line between work and home which, in turn, helps you focus. Make sure to put all possible distractions, like your phone (this especially applies to those of us who have a work and a personal phone) away. But what if your distractions are in the same place as your work – namely, your laptop and phone? Creating a digital workspace can be a bit more difficult, but there are ways. For instance, a Chrome extension StayFocusd allows you to block particular websites for a specific period. It might be a tough realization when you will unconsciously click on one of your procrastination websites and instead of accessing it, you will be shown a strict message that you, indeed, must be working right now. But, believe us, it’s a good reminder that will ultimately save you a lot of time.
2. Find your own self-care practice & dedicate time to it
Taking breaks is important, but make sure you don’t spend them just stressing your brain out by a different type of activity – like scrolling your Instagram feed or taking care of your child. Take quality breaks. Instead of blindly following the wellness trends, figure out what helps you unwind. Of course, it can be something we’ve all heard about like yoga, meditation, or drinking a big glass of water. But it might also be anything you enjoy and feel refreshed after. Some people like lying on the floor for 10 minutes to feel grounded, while others enjoy dancing to their favorite pop song. And since you’re working from home, no one will think your self-care is strange! After all, self-care is about caring for your self, no anybody else’s. Whatever it is, plan your breaks and don’t skip them. Your productivity depends on how well you rest.
3. Go outside
This is a very simple tip but in the world of the pandemic, it might be ignored by many remote workers. No matter how much some of us hated commuting to the office every morning, at least we got to see the world around us every single day. Now, that it’s not a part of our lives, we have to consciously choose to go outdoors. If the weather isn’t that great and you don’t have a reason to go outside, like visiting a friend or grocery shopping, it might be a real challenge to leave the house. However, when both work and personal life are situated in the same space, it is extremely beneficial for your overall well-being to get out of the house regularly. So make sure you prioritize having at least a ten-minute walk outside every single day and see how it changes your stress levels.
4. Take days off when you need them
Taking paid days off might seem counterintuitive for some remote employees. But equating working from home to a vacation ultimately comes from a lack of recognition of your work’s value. Ultimately, this is a dangerous practice as you risk burning out quickly. When you feel drained, anxious, and overwhelmed by the work, and the daily self-care practices are just not enough, don’t hesitate to ask for days off.
5. Keep a to-do list and don’t multitask
Unless you live under a rock, you must have heard of the bad reputation that multitasking gets. While there are said to be methods of effective multitasking, most of us do it because we are either overwhelmed and think that attending to everything at once will make it faster, or we lack focus and switch between tasks as they fall into our hands. Both of these things just waste your time. A good to-do list with broken down tasks and clear order can help avoid multitasking. First of all, breaking down big tasks into small ones allows you to have a better sense of how far you are in your work. For example, instead of writing down “post an article”, break it down into “research, outline, write, proofread, edit, make design for, schedule, post”. Secondly, have an order in which you will be completing the tasks. Use apps that sync between multiple devices (can be as simple as Notes for Apple users), so that you always stay updated.
6. Block specific hours for work
This piece of advice goes hand in hand with the previous one. If your company allows you to work flexible hours, this seemingly beneficial condition might become the hardest part of keeping a healthy work-life balance. Whether you will be postponing work or stretching it far into your personal time, you will feel stressed and unsatisfied with the two constantly clashing. Block out specific time slots for your work, including short and long breaks. Consider the previous tip and allocate time slots for different tasks.
7. Once finished with work, don’t go back to it
Last but not least, if you find yourself returning to work after you finished, this one is for you. And if you struggle to determine when you finish, go back to tip number 6. One last email? One last call? Just perfecting this one last thing? This is work. You can’t achieve a work-life balance if you don’t draw a line between one and the other. But we understand that this doesn’t come easy. Some tips include using the same tools to block work-related websites for when you rest and spend time with yourself and your loved ones. Another useful method is physically putting away work – your laptop or work phone.
We sincerely hope these tips were helpful. Remember that the quality of your work directly depends on your wellbeing, so invest in yourself to achieve greater overall results.