What happens when the lines between work life and home life become blurred? It’s a question many of us are facing as we practice social distancing and the art of working from home.
Maybe you’re someone who runs into distraction after distraction – the dishwasher needs to be unloaded, the laundry needs to be folded, the dog needs to be walked. Or perhaps you’re the type of person who ends up answering emails way beyond normal office hours and working into the wee hours of the morning. Wherever you are on the spectrum, it’s important to find a healthy balance. Here are our tips:
1. Set Your Normal Alarm
Since you aren’t doing your morning commute, you have more time to exercise, tackle household chores, or make breakfast. However you choose to use that extra time in the morning, be sure to wake up when you normally would. It’ll be easier to follow your regular routine than it would be to, let’s say, roll out of bed five minutes before the work day begins. Plus, you can always sleep in on the weekends!
2. Ditch the PJs
While the occasional pajama day may be acceptable, you should stick to your routine of getting dressed for work every morning. No, you don’t need to put on your business best, but you should wear something that’s acceptable for your boss, clients, or colleagues should you need to do a video conference.
3. Have a Dedicated Work Space
Avoid having your work life (physically) spill into your personal life by designating an area of your home for work. Rather than conducting business from the couch, try to find a quiet, low-traffic place where you can set up and recreate elements of your actual work station. If you have a home office, be sure to set boundaries with other members of the household and remind them that this is a work-only zone.
4. Minimize Distractions
Now, more than ever, we feel the pressure to be constantly connected, whether it be to our family, friends, or the news. Set aside specific times to address social media notifications and communication with loved ones, and take some time away from the endless news cycle. Close out of unnecessary tabs on your browser and really focus on your work. Before you know it, it will be time to take a break or shut down for the night.
5. Take Breaks
Just like you normally would, give yourself a midday break to decompress from the morning’s happenings. Eat lunch, check in on a loved one, read a few chapters of a book, or take the dog out for a walk. At the end of the day, allow yourself to fully recharge by signing off and keeping notifications to a minimum.
6. Complete Personal Tasks Outside of Work Hours
Tackle the tasks around the home when you normally would: before or after work. Addressing them while you’re in the middle of an assignment will make it difficult to give your all to either effort. If you’re at a loss for things to do, check out our post on eight ways to make the most of social distancing.
And above all, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Communication is key during a time like this, so keep the dialogue open with your colleagues on how you are feeling and any challenges you are facing.
Please remember to stay safe and look out for those around you.