Keeping A Work-Life Balance When Working From Home

by WorkFromHome on October 13, 2011

Beginning a work from home job is a big transition. This is especially true for finding new ways to establish a healthy balance between work and the rest of life. Whereas home used to be a place to get away from work, it is now the workplace. For many people, this creates an unfamiliar atmosphere that makes it tough to separate themselves from work both physically and mentally. This is why the biggest documented challenge for people who work from home is overworking. However, with the right mindset and structure it is possible to maintain a good work-life balance even when the workplace is always present. Here are some tips on ways to create a work at home atmosphere that is both productive and balanced.

Create A Dedicated Office Space

Setting up an office space that is dedicated only to work and is separate from your personal life is a tangible way of helping your mind keep a healthy work-life balance. This space should preferably be located away from where you spend leisure time and have a door that can be closed while working and after your work day is done. This way, your mind will be geared up for work when you enter the office and be able to relax again when you close the door at the end of a workday. Keep the space professional in design, free from outside distractions and set clear boundaries with family and friends about entering the office when you are working. Most importantly, never set up an office in your bedroom. This is one of the surest ways to create an unhealthy work-life balance because work is the last thing you see when falling asleep and the first thing you see when waking up.

Establish Regular Working Hours

As with any profession, sticking to regular working hours is one of the keys to success when working from home. The nice thing about working from home is that the hours don’t have to be 9 to 5, but they should be strictly adhered to and be set during times that are free from as many distractions as possible. This is especially important when there are children in the house. Setting regular hours will help them better understand when you are available and when you should be left alone to complete your work. Treat your work hours as sacred and avoid the temptation to undertake any more work when you are done for the day.

Allow Yourself Breaks

It is important to allow yourself breaks both in a weekly schedule and during daily work hours. Always schedule at least one day a week when you do absolutely no office related work and stick to it. Not doing so is one of the fastest ways to burn out in a work from home job. If your daily works hours are long, take a lunch or other break to refresh yourself. Getting out of the house during these time can go a long way in not constantly bombarding the mind with nothing but work. Planning breaks can also prevent you from common household distractions like doing the laundry during work hours. Do the laundry or other household chores only on a break or otherwise your work day will be constantly disrupted.

Dress Appropriately

While one of the benefits of working from home is the ability to be more relaxed about what you wear, it should not be to the point of showing up to the office in a bathrobe and slippers. Dress to the same professional level that would be appropriate for your work in a traditional office setting. While this may seem like a minor thing when no one else is around, it can make a big difference in your professional attitude and how your mind separates work from leisure time.

Find Ways For Winding Down

The end of a work day is a critical point in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Finding ways to wind down when you are done is one of the best ways to help your mind transition from work to rest. Little things like setting an alarm to remind you that the work day is about to end, making a to-do list for the next day or closing the office door when you leave can go a long way in wrapping up the workday on a positive note.

Don’t Burn Out

Working from home can be a blessing with many benefits, but it can also become a burden if you let the work overwhelm you. Take care of yourself by sticking to a work schedule, taking the time you need to relax and keeping a good mental attitude. If you do, a healthy work-life balance will be easier to achieve.

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