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7 Tips to Help Keep Work-Life Balance When You're Working at Home

Back view of modern programmer sitting and writing code in dark roomIt might seem strange that you have to pay attention to having a work/life balance when you're working from home. You might have thought it would be like nirvana to work from home, but the reality is that each has pros and cons.

Having a work-life balance is as important when you're working from home as when you're racing from one place to another and fighting rush hour traffic. Here are seven ways to make working from homework for you.


7 tips to help work life balance when working from home


1. Keep a Separate Workspace and Schedule

It is crucial to create a space in your home that's separate from the rest of the house. This sets you up for a productive day in the right workspace. While more convenient, working at home can be more distracting, and distractions come in many forms, such as children, spouses and even empty, silent homes.

Two ways of avoiding distractions are to set up a space dedicated to your work and to create a schedule and stick to it. Sometimes the flexibility of being able to work anywhere may make you feel you can work anytime. Instead of playing catch-up after dinner, try setting a schedule and sticking with it.


2. Forget the Pajamas

One of the best options for working from home for some is working in your pajamas. But research suggests that getting dressed for work, even when you're working remotely, will increase your productivity. Professionals perform better on specific tasks when they are wearing clothes that have meaning to them, like professionals working in professional attire. Working in your pajamas also means you won't be prepared for an impromptu video chat with your boss. Before you're caught in pajamas or workout clothes, consider setting a dress code at home. It might seem silly, but it will have an impact on your personal productivity.


3. Set Start and End Routine to Your Day

As humans, we are more functional when we use a routine to make a positive change. For example, you can set up routines that set you up to be productive during the day or transition out of work in the evening. When you are living and working in the same space, this becomes more important. Don't rush your morning routine, but instead get up early enough to have your morning cup of coffee and get dressed. At the end of the day, don't try to cram in one last task before shutting down for the evening. Instead, wrap up your current projects and make a list of what you like to accomplish the next day. It's the end of the workday, so be sure you don't pick up more work!


4. Organization is as Important at home as at the office

Getting and staying organized at home may be more important than at work. You have the option of staying organized in your space, schedule, and personal life. It's important to keep work in perspective and remember that, while it's meaningful, at the end of the day work stops, and life at home begins.


5. The Bedroom is off Limits

It might be tempting to pick up your laptop and take it into bed with you to finish up one last thing before going to sleep, but research shows that's not effective. Staring at a computer screen right before going to sleep can affect the quality of sleep, which in turn affects your productivity the next day. It's important to keep your bedroom off-limits for work so you aren't thinking about work as you're falling asleep.


6. Mental Health Depends on sleep

Getting enough sleep and strong mental health are closely connected. Sleep deprivation is strongly associated with people diagnosed with anxiety, depression and attention deficit disorder. Researchers are still determining which came first, the mental health condition or sleep deprivation. But in either case, it appears one impacts the other and vice versa. When you are trying to reduce burnout and balance your working life, it's important to pay attention to getting quality sleep.


7. Don't neglect physical health

While sleep affects your mental health, so does your physical health. How you feel mentally will depend in part about how good you feel physically! Working from home isn't permission to grab food from the refrigerator every couple of hours just because your coworkers aren't watching. Instead, keep up with the routine that has kept you healthy, or take some time to develop new habits that will improve your health. This includes eating nutritious meals, staying hydrated with water, getting quality sleep, exercising and not sitting for more than 30 minutes at a time.


Let's get Started

Developing and maintaining new habits can take more energy than keeping the old ones. But your old habits may not have been healthy or allowed you to be as creative as you'd like to be. Yet, when you try to make too many changes all at once, it can spell failure. Instead, pick one or two (no more than two!) habits you'd like to change and start there. If you've been working at home in your pajamas, try getting dressed in casual work clothes each day and see what a difference it can make. One of the benefits of making healthy changes is the positive effects motivate you to continue to develop better habits. There's no time like the present to get started!


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About the Author: Gayle Morris is a freelance writer that’s been writing on health and wellness for over ten years. She spent over 20 years as a certified nurse and nurse practitioner before hanging up her stethoscope and picking up the pen.

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