The most significant barrier to a good work-life balance is your mind. Learn three mindset changes to help achieve work-life balance at home.
A few years ago, it would’ve seemed unlikely that so many of us would be working from home. The pandemic has created a long-lasting change in working habits, with many companies offering a flexible approach to where you work. Some companies have transitioned to fully remote, whereas others operate a hybrid system – you could go into the office a certain number of days and work from home the others.
With the rapid rise in home working, do you feel you’re set up for success? Although there are many benefits to working from home – including saving money on a commute and gaining more time to spend with family and friends – there are also downsides to consider.
If you’re used to the traditional work setup (9-to-5 in an office environment), transitioning to working from home requires some work, notably around your mindset. To achieve a work-life balance from home, you need to be committed to creating the proper routine and environment. We recommend you:
1. Make Planning A Habit
Having a structure to your day is essential. This structure includes a clear start and end to your working day, as well as regular breaks. When you’re at home, it’s easy for the boundaries between home and work to blur. Many people check their emails in the evenings or forget to take a lunch break, for example. Having a structure to your day can prevent this.
You can also communicate your schedule with your colleagues, so they know when you are (and aren’t) available. With instant communication tools, it’s easy to have this ‘always-on’ mentality. But it’s not good for anyone and can make you less productive. In fact, on average, it takes over 23 minutes to regain your focus after you’ve been distracted. Being strict about your schedule means you can do more in your available time.
Creating a good schedule includes setting boundaries for other people in your house. You’ll need a quiet area free from distractions to work and an understanding of when you shouldn’t be interrupted. This can be easier said than done, especially with children, but it’s all about communicating.
2. Prioritize Your Downtime
A lot of what we’ve spoken about above enables you to do our second piece of advice – to prioritize your downtime. After all, what’s the point in working towards a healthy work-life balance if you don’t use your free time to do what you enjoy?
Numerous work-from-home guides emphasize the importance of leaving the house. When you work from the place you live, it can be easy for days to pass without much social interaction or even fresh air. You have to make an effort to get outside and see people actively. You can even build this into your routine to ensure it’s something you stick to. Difficulty with downtime is why working from home can require a change in mindset. You have to be strict with yourself to ensure you get a healthy work-life balance – rather than letting bad habits creep in over time.
The activities you might want to do with your downtime will depend on what you enjoy. Regardless, here are a few ideas:
- Spending time outdoors in nature
- Spending time with friends and family
- Crafts, such as knitting or coloring
3. Consider How to Use Your Additional Time
Working from home would have saved you some time if you were used to commuting to an office. As we’ve explained above, it’s crucial to establish boundaries between your work and home life – gaining this additional time doesn’t mean you have to push yourself too hard at work. You shouldn’t feel like you have to ‘earn’ the privilege of working from home. You can do the hours you usually would.
But you can use your extra time to benefit yourself. Consider it a chance to set yourself up for success at home and work. You want to arrive at work ready for the day, and you should leave your desk feeling ready to relax at home. What would help you achieve that?
It may be spending time doing housework in the morning, so it doesn’t distract you during your day, or it could be spending the last half hour at work planning the priorities for the next day with the idea it’ll help you switch off in the evening. We’ve previously discussed how planning your day has numerous benefits, including increased productivity.
Whereas our second top tip for changing your mindset to help achieve a better work-life balance from home was focused on things you enjoy, our last recommendation is focused more on practical things you can do to optimize your routine.
How have you improved your work-life balance? Share your recommendations with us.