When you are working from home, you can take advantage of flexible hours and the ability to be in control of your schedule. However, it can also mean that you have to work longer hours, and carefully balance your work and personal commitments.
As you know, it can be difficult to keep up with everything you have going on when you work from home. It doesn’t help that you might also be dealing with kids, pets, and a significant other.
I have been working from home for ten years, long before all of the lockdowns, so if you’re struggling to find a work/life balance while working from home, here are six tips that will help you along the way.
Working from home is one of the best things about being an entrepreneur. But you need to be very self motivated, especially when you are your own boss.
There are some days when you don’t want to get out of bed and work at all, but as a self employed business person, the work you put in directly correlates to the results you get out.
The truth is that your ability to focus and deliver quality work also depends largely on your physical state. If you’re not getting enough sleep, eating healthy food, and exercising regularly, you can end up losing your edge.
As an entrepreneur, or a self employed person, it’s important to strike a balance between working too much and too little and making sure that you take care of yourself as well as your business.
Here are six great ways to manage your home life and work life without feeling like you’re missing out on either.
Schedule Your Day
Working from home is much easier when you can stick to similar working hours each day.
Although the beauty of working from home is that your hours can be flexible when needed, if there is nothing out of the ordinary that needs my attention on that day, I find it easier to get a solid block of work done between 9-3 while the children are all out at school.
You may like to put together a routine, so that the first thing you do when you start the work day in the morning is check your emails, and respond to anything urgent, then move onto the other tasks on your to-do list.
If you have to stop work for the school run, you may need to pick it up again in the evening but it’s also important to schedule a cut off time and plan to not work any later than this set time, in order to make sure you preserve your free time and family time too.
Unless it’s a real genuine emergency, that next task can wait until morning!
Organize Your Environment for a Work / Life Balance
It can help to keep a set area of the home where you have all your work supplies. This will be your core working area but it does not mean you have to stay stuck to this spot for the entire day.
You take can take your laptop and move around the house to work, and give yourself a change of scene – for example in summer, I love to work in the garden for a few hours.
In your main working area, you may like to keep your notebooks, calendars, schedules, and your laptop chargers for when you need to plug back in.
Easy Communication with Colleagues
If you work as part of a team, keeping up easy communication with your work team is absolutely vital.
Luciana and I work together running our blogs as a business, and we are in communication on and off throughout the day, whether we are working separately in our own houses, or together.
We also have a few more people that we work with on and off, so having a system to keep track of who knows what, who is handling this, who has been told about that, can be extremely helpful.
If you are managing a team working remotely, you can check out the Blink app on your mobile phone which allows seamless communication between all the employees of your company, making it easy to build community and get the right information to the right people asap, for more efficient working.
Break Up the Monotony of Working from Home
One of the downsides to working from home can be the lack of face to face interaction with your workmates, so if you are able to break up the monotony of your home and spend a few hours out working in a cafe, or in a co-working space, this can really help to give you the change of scenery, and some interaction that you may need.
We are lucky that we work from home in a partnership, so we are able to work together a couple of days a week, alternating which house we use, so that we can get the benefits of face to face working and bouncing ideas off each other.
If you work as part of a team, and have someone located nearby, this can be a great solution, providing you both have a good working relationship and are happy to share a working space for some part of the week.
Learn to Set Boundaries and Say No
This one goes both ways. You may have family and friends who don’t understand that although you may be at home, and not out at the office, you are still working and that the hours of your day are not all free time.
So no, you may not be free to pop round for hours at a time, or run errands for your friends and family during the day, and at times you may need to set a boundary to preserve your work life balance.
At the other side, you also need to be firm with yourself on when to put the laptop away, mentally switch off from work and be present with your family.
This is really important, as it can be tempting to keep working into the night, if you are into something big or the middle of a project but you may need to be strict with yourself to maintain that balance.
And, as I know from experience you can achieve much better when you are well rested – so take a step back and do not allow yourself to continue working until 1am in the morning. That’s not a healthy balance!
Eliminate Distractions While Working from Home
At home, it can be easy to get distracted, which is why having a set work space can help – when I get into a fidgety or distracted mood, I know that I will work much better in my office corner, so I can go there and mentally switch myself into work mode.
Some people like to work with background noise such as TV or music, whereas for others it’s a distraction, so the key is to know yourself and figure out your own ideal working environment.
It’s okay to take a few minutes break to walk around the house, stretch your legs and get some exercise, put the laundry in, open the door to the postman and so on.
All of these little interruptions are just part of the normal working from home day, but the key is not to let it break your flow.
At the office, there are also distractions with people coming to your desk, chit chat and office banter, so it’s hard to say that someone will necessarily be more productive in either environment – it depends!
Working from home can be a wonderful thing. Many people love it (including us!) and it can be very freeing from the demands of a corporate office. It allows us to achieve on our own time frame, manage our own schedule, and be more available for our children and family.
There can be challenges at first adapting to the working from home routine and making sure you protect your work/life balance, but once that is established, this way of life can bring so many benefits to you and your family!