Ways to improve your work-life balance while working from home
Achieving a work-life balance at home is important as it can help your mental health and improve your work performance.
The ongoing pandemic has rendered work from home a norm for most of us.
Attending a Zoom meeting, or replying to work messages on WhatsApp and replying to emails at night might be a routine that we are familiar with now.
It is important for us to adopt a work-life balance to prevent burnouts and maintain good mental health. In return, it might even make us more productive at work.
To achieve so, we have to ensure we have a work-life balance. While there’s no strict definition for it, I believe it’s about not allowing my work nor my personal life to take precedence over the other in my life and home.
Here are a few ways you can maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Strive for a realistic balance
When you think of a work-life balance, you might visualise having a productive work day and leaving work to enjoy time with family and friends. It’s definitely ideal but it’s not always possible.
Striving for a realistic balance would mean having days where you spend more time on work and also having days where you may have more time for your loved ones or some me-time. A realistic balance doesn’t happen in a single day and takes time to achieve.
For me, I get my me-time early in the morning. I get up for work at the same time I would when working at the office, so that I have time to shower, have breakfast with my siblings and send my little brother to school. If I have any extra time, I would read a book or watch my favourite variety show.
This not only ensures I get to connect with my family but also gets me prepared for the new working day.
Establish firm boundaries and honour them
Working remotely during COVID-19 may have blurred lines between work and personal life due to how accessible anyone can be at any given time.
To maintain a clear divide between my working hours and non-working hours, I try not to answer work-related emails or messages after working hours end and during weekends if they’re not urgent. I also set boundaries for myself by only doing work during my working hours and relaxing during my non-working hours.
Unlike working in an office, working from the comfort of your own home may distract you from your tasks. It could be tempting to watch a movie, take a nap or scroll on Instagram for hours in the middle of work. This could lead to doing work after working hours or even rushing to meet deadlines.
Eliminate distractions at home
Having a firm boundary helps in preventing working for long hours as that can eventually lead to burnouts. It also ensures you do not get too distracted by the comforts of your home.
To help with not getting too comfortable working from home, I make sure to fill up my time with work through preparing a list of tasks I have to get done by the end of the working day and divide my time for those tasks.
Another way I stay focused during my working hours is to avoid answering non-urgent calls and messages, as well as scrolling through my social media feed until I’ve completed at least one task.
This increases my productivity as it also motivates me to complete my tasks on time.
Make plans after work
Ending work when working from home may not feel like you’ve stepped away from work after shutting your laptop. You may also be tempted to not log off at a certain timing, or do work during the weekends since you’re not at the office.
Establishing a transitional activity following your working hours will make you more likely to stop working when working hours end.
For me, I leave my designated workspace once work ends and try not to use it for anything else. I make plans such as buying groceries and making dinner so as to ensure I do not continue working after office hours.
I also make weekend plans for me-time or with family and friends. This keeps my mind off work, and refreshes me for a new working week.
Having a work-life balance has helped me in improving my relationship with people at home, and enhancing my ability to be present throughout this pandemic. I rarely bring my work problems into my personal life, and in doing so am able to stay connected with my family.
If you feel burnout more than usual, have been doing overtime a lot lately or find yourself hustling too much, I hope this article helps you feel better, work and live productively.