Working from home use to be the ultimate dream for many, sitting at your desk in your pajamas, walking around the home with your slippers on during work hours, and being wrapped in a snuggly on zoom calls. It was the daydream of every 9-5 office worker who dreaded the bumper to bumper traffic to and from work each day, the boring water-cooler chats, and the too-tight collars on business shirts you quickly ironed while brushing your teeth simultaneously.
Well, 2020 was the unexpected and abrupt genie that made this a reality for most office staff this year, and we welcomed it as a perk amongst the chaos. Except, the length of time many of us have been isolated at home working and trying to create a defining line of start and finish in the home office has become seemingly more difficult and maybe creating a looming negative on our personal home space that was once an escape from the 9-5.
Tips for finding a balance between the two
We have popped together 5 actionable tips to help keep a work/life balance when they exist in the same space.
- Set aside time in the morning for you that isn’t work-related. 30 mins, to listen to a guided meditation, sit by a window with some natural light or on your balcony if you have one, and even perhaps journal. What you would do in your own space usually away from the office. Breath and clear your headspace. Even try some cross-crawling to help with switching on that left and right brain to get your head into a clear frame for focus.
- Use a procrastination station timer – it’s not a special tool by any means, but it’s easy to procrastinate at home and be distracted. Break your work into 30 min blocks and do so by setting a timer, don’t touch your phone until the timer is up and see how much work you get done. Repeat this as often as needed to complete the hours of the day for the workload. The average smartphone user spends 3 hours and 15 mins on their phones each day across various apps… how much of that could be spent being productive at work?
- Try not to work in bed or in areas you would usually use to relax and unwind – if you can set up even just a spot at a table or a separate room to do the work you need to do then it doesn’t live in your relaxation spaces and you can still escape to these when the workday is over, instead of sitting amongst the work. The more you can separate the two in the singular space you’re in under these conditions the better.
- Keep your routine – if you normally get up and do certain things before leaving for the office, do those in the morning and likewise in the evening. Clock off when you would usually clock off, otherwise if you are a workaholic like many of us are, you will be like, oh just one more email… and suddenly you’re deep into that midnight oil burn with not an ounce of homelife.
- ‘Sweep the sheds’ one of the most renowned teams in the world for their sport is the All-Blacks rugby team. One of their key team principles, one of 15 of them, is ‘sweep the sheds’. This for them means before leaving the dressing room, the team must stop and tidy up, respect the space and leave it as they found it, if not better. Each day, ‘sweep your shed’ figuratively. If you have made a space within which you work from home because of the global changes we have seen in 2020, tidy it each day to be pristine, you will not come back to the residual mess left behind from the last day. Tie up loose ends, pack away, and walk away. Tomorrow come back to it again anew and easily accessible. This will help to ensure you have both mentally and physically exited the working day too.
Take home message
These are simple, self-awareness tips for creating easier and quickly actionable shifts to help attain some work-life balance in these crazy times, 2020 has definitely tested all of us, but we can make minor shifts to our daily routine such as these to help with keeping our headspace and home space happy and healthy while we navigate through this year as a global community.