I am sure with this worldwide Coronavirus ‘stay at home’ directive, most people are having a hard time nailing the work home life balance. Are you one of those people who used to look at the people who work from home with the you-got-it-too-easy eyes. Well, now that almost all of us are in that same boat, how does it feel? Still think they had it easy?
Since I have been working from home for like 12 years now, read ahead as I show you here some tips on how to balance work and home life that have helped me over the years…
How to balance your time working from home
Most companies have been forced to implement work-from-home policies amidst this coronavirus pandemic. So a lot of people are now struggling with having to learn to balance how to work from home, especially with kids present. Right now, life and work are happening in the same spaces. Do you get up, shower, dress up like you are going to work, or just pull your laptop from under the bed and get to work?
Now, your brain is splitting into half. You have to think about work when you’re home and think about all the things you need to do at home while ‘at work’. All these thoughts are clashing within the same space. Staying focused on work when your kids are busy running around can be very difficult, especially for those who are not used to it.
Even if you’ve done it before, you need to know how to have balance in your life since staying healthy, both mentally and physically is important during this coronavirus pandemic. Now that you are working from home, it means that your life will get in the way of your work. So how get your work done and at the same time, staying sane at home doing it? Here are some of the tips that I used then and have been applying now that are helping me maintain a work home life balance.
Have a designated work area
When I became a stay at home dad, the biggest challenge for me was how to balance work and personal life. With them so intertwined, at first, it was hard to see where one ended and the other begun. The first step was to draw the line! I knew I had to do this otherwise, one of them will suffer eventually.
The thing is, I was used to going to the office every day. There was that physical separation. So I decided to recreate this at home as well. Now, I know there are some of the people who have small apartments hence, having a separate room as a home office is impossible. Well, you could rearrange things and have a corner that feels separate from the rest of the room.
So because I had a 4-year-old kid running around at the time, I still had to keep an eye on her. So I got my corner with great lighting and got my desk and chair and told her that corner in her room was my office. I explained that when I sat there, I was not to be disturbed.
Much as it was my daughter’s room full of her toys and all, for me, just entering that corner also made me respect that workspace. And whenever I did, it was like a switch was turned on that I was ready to get down to work. While it might feel great that now you can work from any corner of the house, then your laptop will sap into your downtime making it harder to have a work and home balance. So do whatever you can to be able to leave the workspace.
This might sound too easy a tip for work home life balance but do not underestimate its power. When I started working from home, initially, I used to wake up, pull out my laptop from under the bed, and started working. Then there were those days I would get out of bed, take a shower, get dressed, have breakfast then get to work. Well, I realized that on these days, I was more productive, more organized and focused
Now, getting dressed doesn’t mean that you dress formally like you would when going to the office. That simple act of changing into day clothes is a great wakeup call that it is time to get down to serious business. This is how to balance work and personal life – by simply drawing the line.
During this crisis, it is important to stay as sane as possible. Things might not be normal but it is important to make them feel that way. So take a shower, put on some deodorant and lip gloss. Feel great and ready to tackle whatever tasks lie ahead.
Define your work hours
With kids running around? Oh yes. It is possible. This is one of the most important tips on how to balance work and home life. Be clear about when you are working and when you are not.
For me, I had to plan my working hours around my daughter’s schedule. Since she was only 4, I would start my day earlier and work for two-hour blocks. So I sat with her and we came up with a chart that specified when I was working. So I told her, whenever she saw me seated in my corner, that was work time and I wasn’t to be disturbed. During that time, she had her activities. So for her, that became fun and she respected ‘our’ work time.
Define your hours and stick with them. You need to start treating yourself as an employee. Learn how to “STOP” on time. Walk away from your desk and leave the computer behind. Have time to bond with the little ones. Even if you have no kids and nothing to do in the evening, don’t give in to the temptation of extending your work hours. Learn to have balance in your life. Put it away, recharge, and begin in the morning with a fresh brain.
Avoid things that eat into your time
What else are you doing that is making you less productive? To perfectly strike the work home life balance, you need to identify these things. Do not do them during your designated work hours.
For me, it was the constant WhatsApp messages that kept coming in. So what I did was muting the notifications. So anything personal like social media, online bank statements, paying bills, I did it after work hours. Stop checking on your baby more than is necessary. Learn to balance.
Right now, the whole office is working from home. Everyone is working from home. We are having less social interactions. At least then, I would have some unwinding time with friends. Now, most of us can’t. We are stuck with ourselves.
One other way to strike your work and home balance is to break that monotony of work and socialize. Stage a call with your coworkers and just have some good old gossip. Keep up with what they have been doing while staying at home. Such small interactions go a long way into keeping you sane.
If you used to have lunch with a coworker, plan a virtual lunch date through video, and catch up one-on-one. These breaks are important when you are having to work from home. Facetime your mum and relatives. Just reach out and connect with them.
Embrace Flexible Working
Now much as you are trying to get that perfect balance with defined working hours and all, one thing I had to accept is that there were times that circumstances forced me to work outside core hours. So, knowing that you are working from home, your boss might schedule a call that probably seeps into your personal hours.
Don’t sacrifice your personal time. When this happens, finish earlier the next day so that you do what you had planned to do.
Now that you have an idea on how to balance your time, visit Love is All Colors after work hours and read some of the articles you might have missed.