Given the fact that most businesses are offering remote work at this time, it is important to understand how to handle work and life in the same location. It’s one of the biggest work at home conundrums. You finally found a job that you love that will allow you to work from home, too. You imagine how much time you’ll save from not having to commute into an office, how much money you’ll save by not having to pay for said commute (and office wear and fancy lunches), and how productive you’ll be with all that extra time not having spent stuck in traffic.
Thing is, your work life and your personal life can easily become one big mélange of misery if you don’t try to set boundaries. Here are five ways in which you can separate work life and family life when you work at home.
Hold regular office hours.
It may seem unnecessary to have regular office hours when you work remotely. After all, isn’t the point of having a flexible schedule that you can work flexibly? But if you start and stop your workday at various times throughout the day, it can wreak havoc on your productivity. Instead of getting more work done effectively, you’ll find yourself working much longer than you need to, often when your kids are home from school or even later into the evening. So try to keep a consistent schedule, and then allow for interruptions or breaks as needed.
Work from one space.
When you telecommute, anywhere can be your office, from your local coffee shop to your car while you wait for your kid to finish her soccer practice to even the park. Even though the leaves are lovely this time of the year, you should try to find one place to primarily work from in your home. You may not have an extra room to convert into an office space, but there are other home office alternatives (such as a garage, an attic, or even a closet). Finding a dedicated space to get your work done will keep you centralized and focused. Then, when you’ve gotten the bulk of your work done for the day, you can switch it up by working somewhere else for a few hours the next day.
Ignore the distractions.
Dirty dishes. That mound of clean clothes that have to be folded and put away. When your home and your office are one in the same, distractions are plentiful, even more so than if you worked in a traditional office. If you don’t ignore the distractions, though, you’ll find that you’ll get far less work done. So as much as you’d like to have a totally clean house, you’ll need to block the mess out of your mind until you’re done with your work for the day.
You’re prepping dinner and you have your laptop open on the counter at the same time. While you might be tempted to scan your work emails as you’re tossing the salad, you shouldn’t. It’s imperative to establish boundaries when you work from home. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself working 24/7. So make every effort to be present in your life, whether you’re trying to finish up a big project or if you’re having a conversation with your 10-year-old. Setting boundaries will ultimately make you a better, stronger, and happier worker and person.
Don’t overschedule yourself.
Remote workers might feel the need to take on extra tasks, especially if some of their colleagues are still stuck working at the office when they don’t want to be. It’s important though to not overschedule yourself, as that can be a recipe for future failure. Instead, make every effort to do the best at your job by completing your assignments well and on time. If you find that you have some extra time that won’t come as a huge sacrifice to your personal life, then you can volunteer to tackle another project. That way, you’re doing your personal best, both at work and at home.