Anyone that works knows that achieving that perfect work-life balance is actually more stressful than relaxing. We feel challenged and pressured to prove to ourselves and others that we can do it all by making time for our work (and killing it) as well as for ourselves. This is unfortunately very distant from reality, especially for people who WFH (work from home) or who have inconsistent work schedules. It makes planning a relaxing evening more challenging than it really should be. Which is why we’re here. We’re going to shed some light on some of the best ways to create a good work-life balance without having to risk the quality of your work.
Schedule Your Time
If you’re trying to find balance in your life, try scheduling. If you’ve tried using your iPhone calendar but it’s just not working for you, don’t fear, there’s a million ways to schedule in the West (and all over the world).
Scheduling is something that’s unique to each person. You have to know what type of personality you are and adjust your schedule accordingly. If you’re someone who prefers being 2 weeks ahead rather than 2 weeks behind, you might benefit from a task or to-do list. This way you can see everything you need to do for that day, and cross each item off. We recommend also adding in things like “take the dog for a walk” or “call (old friend, parent) at 2:00pm” so that you’re also remembering to add some “me” time into your days.
If to-do lists just don’t work for you, you can opt for a paper planner. This way you can visually see your days laid out, and include things like fitness classes or lunch with a friend. You can also find planners that are laid out by hour, this way you can block off time for work and time for play.
If you find that no matter what you just can’t stick to a pen and paper type of situation, try going digital! You can utilize the to-do list in your phone that alerts you when you need to accomplish something, or you can download apps that mimic a daytime planner or a monthly planner but are all on you phone. This way you don’t have to worry about forgetting a book when you want to write down an important meeting or appointment. Some apps will also let you sink workout or fitness apps to them so you can schedule your workout and it will show up in your calendar.
Have Dedicated Work Spaces
When it comes to WFH or having a more virtual workspace, it’s important to have dedicated work spaces. If you constantly catch yourself sending emails from bed, this might be a sign you need to build some boundaries within your home.
We get it, sometimes you just have your best ideas in the middle of the night, or realize you forgot to send one last email as you’re falling asleep, but hear us out. It actually creates more unhealthy acceptance of being able to work from wherever you are in your home, than dedicating specific areas of your home for work.
We suggest setting up your home office to be a little more functional. Add a plant or five, get a more supportive, but comfy chair– just spruce the place up a bit. Make it enticing to work in. If you don’t have a dedicated home office, make one! Set up a specific corner or chair at your kitchen counter where you only do your work from. Make sure it’s comfy though for those extra long meetings. You can add things like a laptop stand, a notepad and pens, a little sign with your name on it or a witty saying about work– anything that gets you motivated to work there.
In the meantime, you can set up your relaxation spaces to be more relaxing. Make sure you fix your bed first thing in the morning, get rid of that little table in front of your couch that you only put your computer and dinner plate on, and include some sensory things (candles, incense, humidifiers). This essentially tells your body that it’s time to relax when you step foot in one of these spaces.
Get Into The Right Mindset
Before you do anything in life, you have to be in the right mindset. Otherwise you’re not going to have a great time. Well, the same goes for working from home. It’s important that you “prepare” for your WFH days, the same as you would the days where you work from an office. We recommend people get up at the same time, wear their normal work clothes, do your hair and makeup, shower (please shower) and be “work ready.” Some people even go as far as walking around the block to imitate the feeling of walking to their office.
The same goes for relaxation time. You need to essentially stick to your same routine pre-WFH in order to assert any type of regular schedule. This means that when you’re ready to relax for the day, you change out of your work clothes, take off your makeup, and close your laptop! One of the biggest problems people have is they’ll continue to watch Netflix on the same laptop they do work on, and as soon as they see an email come in or in between episodes they’ll start working. If you’re really looking to relax, try reading a book, hanging out with a friend, using a different iPad or laptop for your personal use, or watching something on TV.