Many of us have recently transitioned to working from home, and some are thriving while others are merely surviving. Here are a few tips to help you maintain a work-life balance when they happen under the same roof.
Get ready for the day
I know for myself, if I put jeans and anything other than a sweatshirt on, I feel more presentable and productive. When we get dressed, eat breakfast and even brush our teeth as if we were going into an office, we’ll be better prepared to do work activities, instead of just lounging.
I have a friend who has to say goodbye to his daughters in the morning, leave for the day out the front door and then he sneaks around the back and into his office in the basement to help his daughters understand dad will be working, even though he is still at home. You might try this action yourself, not for your kids but your brain. Every morning before you clock in for the day, leave out your front door and go for a walk around the block, or even get in your car, just to give an extra signal to your body that this is work time, not just hang-out-at-home time.
Have a set space to work outside your bedroom
Whether you have a designated room as your office, you use the kitchen table, or the porch swing, you’ll more likely be productive in a space other than your bedroom. This will help eliminate the chance your comfy bed will call you to come back to it. Also, as the Division for Sleep Medicine at Harvard claims, you’ll have good quality sleep because “Keeping computers, TVs, and work materials out of the room will strengthen the mental association between your bedroom and sleep.” If you do end up working in a common space, try to turn off and even put away your computer when your working hours are done to help keep work off your mind when you’re in your personal time. Finally, try disconnecting your work e-mail, or at least notifications, from your phone to help further the separation. Consciously choose not to respond to emails until the next day, because let’s face it, there will always be something to respond to.
Take advantage of your lunch break
Did you know there are legal allowances for breaks during your workday? In the state of California, full-time employees are allowed 30 minutes for a lunch break and two 10 minute rest breaks throughout the day. A quick google search will help you find the laws in your state. Take advantage of working from home by utilizing these breaks to do something enjoyable and rejuvenating! You can go for a walk, facetime a niece or nephew, make an actual meal for lunch, do a quick yoga session, mid-day dance party, or 10 minutes of meditation. While taking a break may feel like you’re spending less time being productive, these activities will help clear your head and give you new energy to come back to your work refreshed.
Leave your house to signify your day is done
I have another friend who works from home in her studio apartment, so everything is done in the same room. At 5pm every day she leaves her apartment to take a walk and signal to her body and mind that her space is transitioning from her office to her living room again. Like the walk at the beginning of the day, this is great closure to your work day and provides the physical and mental separation necessary to successfully transition from work-life to home-life even though both take place under the same roof.