It's really hard to keep a work life balance when you’re working from home. Your personal space is now your workspace. When does your workday start? When does it end? Does it matter if you get dressed? How do you keep everything from blIturring together?
I have been working from home for the past four years. I have to admit it was a big adjustment from my corporate life. However, I found that establishing these habits promoted my productivity and created boundaries between my work life and personal life.
Establish a morning routine: I was always up early, running out the door to catch a train. I found by keeping my morning rituals, I was able to set the tone for the whole day. So here are my suggestions: Set your alarm to keep on schedule. Work out if you are a morning person. Make your bed and shower. Get dressed! Yup. Even if they’re sweats. Getting dressed will put your head in the right mindset. Eat breakfast. Start work at the same time every day.
Limit phone, emails, social media interactions: These are true productivity killers. Set a schedule when you will tune in during the workday. Keep it short. Turn off notifications. Refrain from “checking in”. It is too easy to fall down the rabbit hole if guard rails are not put into place.
Schedule breaks: Get up and walk around. Breaks help clear your head and prevent decision fatigue. They help restore motivation and promote increased productivity and creativity.
Define the end of the workday: Boundaries are key here. Setting a specific cut off point will allow for a natural shift to other activities without feeling guilty. Clean your work space. Clutter is recognized as significant source of stress. Keeping your work area neat will help you relax and set yourself up for success tomorrow.
I found these routines or habits helped me transition from a workplace to a home environment. They allowed me to keep my focus, maintain my motivation and define the starting and end points of my workday. Having said that, flexibility needs to be baked into the equation. We all need to be agile but having a foundation will support managing the unexpected.