Working from home has its distinct benefits, but it’s not exactly an instant recipe for work-life balance. People who work from home tend to work longer hours and are more likely to feel stress than people who work in an office full-time, according to one study.
When you tell people you work from home, they often think it must be easy. But the distractions of home life can cause you to become stressed out and work harder to make up the lost time. Soon, your work and home life are suffering. This vicious cycle continues until your life becomes completely out of balance.
So how do we get the balance between work and life correct when working from home?
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Start Each Day Strong
Whether or not you consider yourself a morning person, the first few hours of the day will set the tone for the rest of it. Follow the same steps each morning to create healthy, efficient habits.
I advise making the early mornings your own. Don’t check your emails the moment you get out of bed – you’ll more often than not get sucked into work before you’ve completed your morning rituals. Instead, ease yourself into the day, thinking about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to do it.
Work Comes First
Time is your most valuable asset. It’s something you’re never able to get back. If you’re going to have a good work-life balance, you need to master the use of your time.
Start by cultivating a mindset that work comes before other concerns. You have to assess your time-spending habits and be honest with yourself on what your biggest distractions are. Eliminate them.
Learning to say no to your family during work hours is an important part of working from home successfully. Helping with homework, doing chores, playing with your kids – these all need to be done outside of work hours.
Watch Your Physical and Mental Health
Many entrepreneurs burn out through physical or mental exhaustion. Working for yourself isn’t always the bed of roses it’s sometimes made out to be. It’s stressful, tiring, and you often feel that you need to be pushing yourself harder and harder to match up to the competition.
This is why it’s doubly important to have a good nutrition plan and exercise routine when you work from home. You need to pay attention to yourself and what your body is telling you. The warning signs are always there, so catch health issues before they become something more serious.
Time off Is Time off
Intentionally take time off where you’re unavailable to colleagues, customers, and the stresses of work. Allocate time to spend with your family each day and weekend and give your attention fully to them. They’ll respect your work boundaries better if you’re giving them the attention they deserve during family time.
Disconnecting from work periodically has other clear benefits on mental health and can simply be an avenue to find some creative ideas. You’ll return to your work mentally stronger and ready to take on the next task with gusto.
Plan Your Activities Properly
Plan long-term and short-term goals that are interconnected. Decide what you want to achieve by the end of the year, for example, and make a set of intermediary steps to get there. From your monthly goals, create weekly goals. From weekly goals, create daily goals.
However, don’t let the planning apps rule you. You’re the boss, not the app! If you’re finding you’re constantly struggling to keep up with the activities you’ve planned in your app then re-assess how much time each of these activities really takes you. Are you trying to do too much?
You need your planning to be fluid with the ability to adapt. There are always going to be challenges and setbacks that alter the script. Periodically check your plans to see if the goals you laid out earlier remain the correct goals to attempt to achieve. Evolve your goals when new information comes in that changes the course you need to take.
Working from home requires you to monitor your day-to-day life and take steps on an ongoing basis to ensure your work-life balance never gets out of sync.
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