At first, it may have seemed like it’d be easy to maintain work/life balance when working from home.
But by now you may have come to realize that the lines between the two can blur a little easier when your office is your kitchen table and you no longer have the time you spent on that long commute before and after work all to yourself to jam out or listen to that amazing podcast.
In my last blog post, I wrote about creating work/life balance when you work outside the home, so I thought I’d follow it up with these 15 tips for creating that same balance when working from home. Keep reading to learn all about the small but impactful things you can do to feel more balanced and ease in your work-from-home life!
Before You Get Started
As I mentioned in my last blog post, setting yourself up for success before you really start working is one of the most helpful things you can do for yourself in terms of creating balance.
Below are some of the best tips for getting your day started right, so you can feel vibrant and motivated as you prepare for your workday.
Create a separate workspace
- Even if you’re workspace is your couch and all you’ve got for a desk & supplies is simply a lap desk and special “office hours” mug that you put away at the end of the workday. Creating a space just for work helps your mind know when it’s time to get down to business, and makes it easier to shift out of work mode at the end of the day.
- This is definitely something I’m still struggling with, personally – being under my weighted blanket while working from the couch is just so darn comfortable! But I also find myself getting more easily distracted and feeling less motivated to work than when I’m mindful about working from my “workspace” – (an adjustable laptop desk and balance ball chair – no room for an official desk at the moment!)
Get dressed in something other than pj’s
- I know – you’re probably rolling your eyes at me right now and thinking to yourself “isn’t one of the best things about working from home being able to wear whatever you want?” And of course, the answer is “yes” – but hear me out.
Getting dressed in something other than your pj’s, even if it’s loungewear, can make a huge difference in terms of your mindset and productivity. I’m not saying you need to put on your business outfit like you would if you went to an office. But have some clothes set aside as your “work uniform” – maybe some super comfy leggings or joggers and a top that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to wear to an impromptu Zoom call. This is just another little signal that you’re sending to your brain about it being “work time”. Then when you change your clothes at the end of the day (that’s right, NOW it’s time for pj’s), your brain knows it’s time to shift gears and begin relaxing.
Make sure your workspace is ergonomic and comfortable
- Having a comfortable place to work that supports your body’s alignment is super important to your overall mental & physical health.
Even if your workspace is your couch, you can add some sturdy throw pillows and an ottoman to prop your feet up so that your spine can stay long and supported.
You can also check out balance ball chairs that function as a desk chair with the bonus of having a balance ball for the seat so your spine remains in alignment and active (instead of hunched over and passive, causing your vertebrae to be compressed).
Start your day with a mini dose of self-care
- Set your intention for the day and start off from a grounded and balanced place – not by logging in as soon as you wake up. According to this article from The Muse, this can be one of the quickest ways to find yourself burnt out before your day even really starts.
- Try adding some aromatherapy essential oils in your morning shower or diffuse some at your workspace. Other great self-care techniques include journaling, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and exercise. Need some more self-care inspiration? Check out my free eBook!
Set boundaries with family/housemates
- Let those around you know when you plan to start working, and that you don’t want to be interrupted. I know this may be easier said than done if you have children in your home, but setting and trying to stick to theses boundaries will help everyone in your living space know that they don’t have your attention right now, but that you’ll give them 100% as soon as your workday/shift is done.
As You Go About Your Workday
Now that you’ve settled into your workday, it’s time to incorporate some things to help you avoid burnout and feel energized throughout the day. The tips below will help keep the self-care going all day.
Have a daily work routine
- This includes taking breaks and REAL lunchtimes away from your workspace. Even if you’re working at the dining table, clear your work supplies and have yourself a real meal. It also helps to have set times for starting and completing your workday that you stick to. Having a schedule helps keep you focused (which can be a challenge when working from home, as I’m sure you’ve realized!) and helps your brain know when to shift from one mode to another.
Connect with colleagues daily via chat programs or quick video calls
- Do this in the morning if you can to start your day feeling connected and to plan your days together. If you are a solopreneur, find a Facebook group or other way to connect with others and use this time to check in on your goals and hold each other accountable.
Get fresh air & natural light
- I’ve shared this tip before, but it’s worth mentioning again! Fresh air and natural light help regulate your mood and keep your mental health in check. Take a quick 5-minute break to step outside (if the weather and your health allow) and open up the curtains or blinds while you work to let the light in. You’ll be amazed at the difference this can make, even on the dreariest of days.
- This is especially important if you’re not used to working from home. I remember having to completely put my workday on hold one day (as did my husband) when our bedroom ceiling fan almost completely disconnected itself from the ceiling. (Ah, the joys of rentals!). Luckily, neither of us was under it at the time, and we were both able to adjust our schedules with no big issues. While you may have limitations due to the rules of your employer (if you don’t work for yourself), knowing that some days things can go incredibly wonky and having a flexibility plan in place can go a long way to ensuring that you’re able to attend to life’s curveballs without totally upending your work life.
Wrapping it Up
Now that your workday is over, take a few extra minutes to try the tips below so you can shift from work mode to your home life more effortlessly.
Pick up after yourself
- Even the writers at Forbes agree: getting your work supplies out of sight & out of mind is a big help for creating balance when working from home. Clean up your workspace/items before calling it quits and you’ll be that much more able to relax and get started on the right foot the next day.
Use time saved from not having to commute as self-care time
- Just like you added some time for self-care to the beginning of your day, now is another great time to incorporate some you-time. This gives you a buffer between work & home life which lets you decompress son you can really embrace the next tip.
When the workday is done, it’s DONE.
- Finish up at the same time you would leave the office (assuming you weren’t prone to staying late!). And just like I mentioned in my post about work/life balance for those who work outside the home: don’t bring your work “home” with you. Try unloading your concerns for the next day into a notebook that you keep with your work supplies so you can get it off your mind and be fully present for whatever your time off holds.
y trying just one of the tips above, you on well on your way to creating more balance between your work life and home life – even when they happen in the same space.
If you try any of these tips and it helps you, I’d love to hear about it – drop a comment below.
I’ll be back soon with a post on finding balance when you’re a homemaker and/or stay-at-home-parent with the help of one of my dear friends, so be sure you sign up for the email list or join the Facebook group so you don’t miss it!
Until next time,