Working from home is the new normal for most employees nowadays, but balancing your professional and personal life can be challenging when working within your home office. To do your best work while also being able to unwind at the end of the day, it’s important to have practices in place to be at your maximum production. Follow along below for tips on maintaining a productive work/life balance while working from home.
Dedicate A Workspace
Working from home can be difficult if you don’t have a space of your own to sit down and get work done. To separate your work from the rest of your life at home, you need to set boundaries for yourself so that you can differentiate between them. Creating a dedicated home office is one of the best ways to stay productive while working remotely and allows you to stay organized. Some options of where to put this space include a guest room, in your basement, or a playroom you no longer use.
One of the essentials you’ll need for this workspace includes a desk large enough to fit your laptop, monitor, and other tools necessary for your job. Storage within a desk is crucial for maintaining an organized space, so be sure to find the desk that best fits your needs and personal preference. You’ll also need an ergonomic chair for all the sitting you’re doing throughout the day, which can get pretty pricey. Also, consider purchasing basic room soundproofing equipment to help maximize your efficiency. Being able to block out frequent outside noise could be just what you need to hone in on your work.
Finance A Workspace Upgrade
Depending on how big of a project you’re willing to take on to create your home office, you might need some help financing the remodel. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is one option to consider when financing your endeavor. This will allow you only to borrow the specific amount of money you’ll need to complete your project from your home’s equity, and you’ll be able to pay it back in monthly installments. Other options to help you finance your new workspace include using a standard credit card (preferably one where you’ll receive points from your purchases) or asking your employer if they offer a work-from-home stipend to put towards the cost.
Plan Your Days Accordingly
One of the most vital steps in creating a productive workday is to set up your daily plan as soon as you log on for the day. This can be anything from creating a to-do list, filling out your Google calendar, using a planner, or anything else that fits your organizational style. One of the best ways to improve your productivity is to utilize a calendar. Some of the best organizational techniques when using a calendar include color-coding your tasks, setting reminders on your digital calendar, and utilizing cross-functional capabilities to access your calendar on various devices.
As your day progresses, keep track of what tasks you’ve completed, the ones that are still a work in progress, and any updates needed for them. When you start to work the next day, you’ll thank yourself for staying on top of it.
Limit Your Distractions
Once your schedule is set for the day, let your significant other or children know when your busy times are throughout each day and when you need minimal interruptions. If you work in a home office or a separate room, have a sign for the door that says when it’s appropriate for someone to come in or if they need to come back at a different time when you’re not in a meeting or working on an important assignment.
Another way to limit distractions is to switch your phone to ‘do not disturb’ if it’s at your desk to ensure you don’t get distracted by the ring tone or the vibrations when someone texts you. Limit social media apps or notifications on your computer while working through a project to minimize those unnecessary distractions.
Maintain Firm Boundaries
When working from home, it can be hard to log off mentally at the end of the workday. To make it easier, ensure you’re setting healthy boundaries with yourself and your set work times. If your work hours are 9-5, log off at the end of the day once you’ve finished your tasks.
An alternative way to make this distinct break between your lives is not to have your work email or Slack notifications on during your non-working hours. You won’t want to get into the habit of answering messages or problem solving outside your working hours, as that’s less time for you at the end of the day. Blending your work into your home life will lead to increased burnout and even lower your productivity in the long run.
Move Your Body
Another important aspect of staying productive when working from home is getting your blood moving. When you start to feel tired while working you might feel the need to go grab your next cup of coffee, but that’s most likely not the fix you need. According to Forbes, incorporating small movements throughout your workday can lead to increased efficiency, energy, and even engagement.
One idea to improve your daily movement is going on a short 15-minute walk around the block and back. Unplug during this time or listen to something that relaxes you. Another way to increase movement is doing a quick yoga exercise or stretching to eliminate any aches or pains from sitting all day; there are plenty of easy-to-follow routines available on Youtube. You’ll find that incorporating these small exercises is the perfect way to re-energize without relying on caffeine and you’ll feel ready to finish the day when it’s time to log off.
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There are plenty of options to help you find the best work/life balance routine when working from home, but you need to find the right one for your needs. Test some of these tips and see which works the best for you and your schedule before permanently switching up your daily routine. With a dedicated workspace, staying active when you can, and planning your day ahead of time, you’ll be able to be your best, most productive self.