Is work-life balance possible when working from home?

The concept of maintaining a healthy work-life balance seems doable in theory. Working from home should make it easier, right?

Think about it; you’re cutting out the stressful commute and gaining more hours to focus on yourself and your family. It sounds perfect! 

Not quite.

Work-life balance during lockdown

If there is one thing that the COVID-19 lockdown has taught us, it’s that the struggle to strike a healthy work-life balance is much harder when working from home. Why? Well, simply put, juggling everything all of the time, is just not sustainable.

It is unrealistic to expect to be a good parent, teacher, partner, dedicated IT technician, homemaker, employee or employer 100% of the time. Throw in the constant barrage of online noise, and you’re sure to lose the plot! 

So, how do we manage it? What can we do to preserve what little sanity we have left and get our jobs done to the best of our abilities?

Before we look at a few ways to ease these stresses, let’s see what work-life balance means.

The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “the number of hours per week you spend working, compared with the number of hours you spend with your family, relaxing, etc.” It also goes on to say that “Part-time working is often the best way to improve your work-life balance.” While the latter sounds very tempting, it’s not a reality for most!

To shed some light on the subject, we did a little online digging and put together a few pointers that might just help you get back on track.

Prioritise your time

Whether you have 2 or 20 tasks on your to-do list, you should prioritise them into four categories.

They are:

  1. Urgent and important
  2. Important but not urgent
  3. Urgent but not important
  4. Neither urgent nor important.

While you should aim to get everything done, ticking off the most critical items will be your decisive wins for the day.

Set your work hours

Gaining that extra hour or two by working from home, does not mean you need to add it to your workday. Our advice is to set your dedicated work hours and stick to them. If you don’t, you will inevitably end up working late into the evening, which over time will just burn you out quicker.

Make exercise a priority

We’re all guilty of skipping exercise to get an extra few minutes of shuteye, especially now that the weather is getting colder. The same is true when a client wants something done urgently. We so easily prioritise everything above exercise. It’s time to change that mindset; get up, get dressed and get it done! Your body and mind will thank you for it!

Be realistic about your abilities

At the end of each working day, ask yourself what worked and what didn’t. Don’t be scared to ask your boss or colleagues for help when you feel overwhelmed with your workload. Staying quiet about it will only hurt you in the long run.

Practice mindfulness

There will be days when anxiety and fear sneak up on you. With all of the uncertainty in the world, this is to be expected and perfectly normal. Practising mindfulness (whether you read, meditate, etc.) will relax the body and mind, and help reduce stress.

Take a break

Lunchbreaks are there for a reason. Break the time up if you can’t spare a full hour. For those of you who work in digital, try to automate your tasks over weekends so that you get the necessary downtime after a busy week.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, how you achieve a healthy work-life balance while working from home is going to be up to you. The perfect balance between the two is unrealistic and will only add extra pressure to an already stressful situation.

Remember, what works for someone else might not be right for you. If both your life and work are getting the attention they deserve, give yourself a pat on the back and keep going.

You’re doing a great job! 

“Balance is not something you find, it’s something you create.” – Jana Kingsford

Photo by Kristin Wilson on Unsplash

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