3 Ways to Set Boundaries When You Work from Home
When your house is your office and vice versa it becomes increasingly difficult to separate work and home. Instead of concentrating solely on the task at hand, you’re distracted by the pile of laundry waiting to be done or the TV that’s just itching to be turned on. At an office, neither of these things are a possibility, so while offices have their own distractions, working solo at home arguably comes with more.
Not to mention, some semblance of a work-life balance is already a challenge to maintain, but doing so when you’re working and living in the same space takes effort and one (or more!) of these strategies.
Have a Routine
When you commuted to an office, you had a morning and evening routine. It’s likely you got up, got ready, potentially worked out and/or ate breakfast, and then set off to start work. Now that your “commute” requires walking downstairs or across the hall, your routine is scrapped.
So, put a new one in place. You can probably set your alarm for a little later since you no longer need to a lot for commute time. Or use that time for yourself. Then set aside time for breaks and lunch just like you would in the office. It’s easier to fit in time for a workout during the day, or a walk to get out of the house. Whatever helps you focus and maintain productivity, create a routine around that.
Then stick to it. But be mindful of what works and what doesn’t. If you find yourself doing dishes instead of finishing up a task you’ve been putting off, set aside 20 minutes in the morning to make sure your space is clean and conducive to work. Keeping to a routine, no matter how different from your former one, can help keep you productive and on track.
Create a Space
While some people can work from anywhere and maintain a high level of productivity, most need a separate space that is dedicated to work only. It helps your brain turn into “work” mode and “home” mode, respectively.
So, if you have a room you can dedicate to a home office, do so. But, if you live in a smaller space, try to find a corner that will fit a desk and chair that you can comfortably work from. Having a space that is set up for work means that you’re less likely to find yourself working from bed every morning or from the couch every afternoon.
Set Certain Hours
If your job requires meetings throughout the day then working from home doesn’t skew the hours you need to be online. However, if your job is more of a solo mission, it’s easy to start later and end later, or start earlier and end earlier. And while having a more flexible schedule is one of the perks of working remotely, it can also begin to eat into your personal life, if you let it.
Come up with working hours that both you and your manager or team agree to and then stick to them. Not only will this hold you accountable, but it will provide a necessary boundary to the start and end of the workday. It can be easy to work all of the time when there are things to do and you don’t have to actually go anywhere to be “done” with work. But remember work-life balance is important and keeping the equilibrium is up to you.
So, next time you find yourself being unproductive or burnt out, consider which of these strategies can help you set boundaries between your work and home lives.
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