A recent poll of 500 people working from home during lockdown, revealed that nearly half, 48%, were unhappy with their work-life balance.
Working from home can be great – you’re in a comfortable environment, you don’t have to undergo a stressful commute, and there’s every chance that you’ll save a little money too. However, there can be downsides, one of which is that working from home can make it feel like you’re always on call. If you’re finding life is all work and no play at the moment, check out our tips below and start reclaiming time for yourself.
Why is it important?
A work-life balance will separate your personal and professional life without allowing one to take over the other. Both are incredibly important, and neither should be ignored. The benefits speak for themselves. It boosts your productivity, maintains your mental health, and ensures physical health and wellbeing. It will also help keep your stress levels in check, meaning you’ll be happier and healthier in the long run.
Clear a space
One great way to mark the boundaries is to dedicate a space in your home to work. If possible, keep your bedroom a sacrosanct place for relaxation as that will help strengthen the association between bed and sleep. If it can’t be helped, try to find a well lit space where you can sit upright and if possible, avoid working on your bed,
Clear away any work-related items once you’re finished for the day. The physical act of removing any items that directly relate to work, reclaims your space and helps your mind click into relaxation mode.
Take a break!
Taking breaks is another great way to help your mind stay on track while working. It’s easy to become engrossed but when your concentration starts to lapse or you’re stuck for ideas, taking time out for a few minutes can help your mind reset. Making a cup of tea or stretching your legs can also give you a fresh outlook when you’re back at your screen.
The pomdoro technique is a great time management method that uses a timer to break work down into intervals. First, you decide which task you want to complete and set a 25 minute timer. You work on the task until a timer signals it’s time to take a short break, around 3-5 minutes. Once the break is over, you set the timer for another 25 minutes and repeat. After you have completed four 25 minute chunks of work you can take a longer break of between 15-30 minutes. Here’s an app that will help you with this technique.
Work smarter, not longer.
Separating your work into manageable chunks will also make it easier to take a break, and will help you feel more productive in the long run. Prioritise the most important tasks and get them out of the way first thing. As the day draws to a close there’s nothing more satisfying than knowing you’ve had a productive day. It’s also less likely you’ll work late and more likely you’ll enjoy time for yourself instead.
If it’s your phone that distracts you when you’re trying to work, you might want to download the Forest app. It’s a paid app that helps you stay focussed on the task at hand. Simply enter the amount of time you want to spend on work, and a tree will start to grow. What’s the incentive? Well, closing the app before the end of the timer will result in the tree dying.
Stay away from your emails
Working remotely can pressurise us into feeling we should always stay connected. Keeping in contact with your bosses and coworkers during working hours is obviously important, but once the day comes to an end you should be able to distance yourself. If you do need to be contacted then try to set up an automatic reply or some sort of filter system so that only important emails get through. Allow yourself time in the evenings and weekends to relax and recharge.
When you finish work for the day that should be it. Disable your notifications, close your laptop and fight the temptation to check emails on your phone. Take time for yourself, leaving all thoughts about work for the next day.