Working from home may have once felt like a small luxury, a sporadic treat or occasional necessity to take care of medical or household issues. However, if you’ve been working from home for several weeks now, you may be feeling anxious to get back into the office! The blurring of boundaries between work life and home life can easily contribute to burnout and lack of work/life balance. If you find yourself struggling, these tips may help.
Set up a designated “office” space. If you have a home office already, great! If not, select a specific location in your home where you will work the majority of the day. As much as you can, keep work and work-related objects (notebooks, laptop, work phone) in this space to prevent encroaching on your home space.
Transition from “home time” to “work time,” and vice versa. This establishes a boundary between personal time and work time. During your home time, avoid answering work calls, emails or texts (unless absolutely necessary), and during your work time, avoid personal and household tasks.
If family obligations, such as caring for children, caregiver responsibilities, and taking care of pets prevent you from committing your time as cut and dry as referenced above, allocate your time with a specific schedule. For example, if you’re helping your child with their school lessons while also working, you may need to designate specific periods of time throughout the day to assist them.
Focus on just one thing at a time. While multitasking seems like a time-saver, it potentially keeps you distracted and makes you less productive. For example, don’t unload the dishwasher while you’re on a conference call. You might feel like you’re paying attention, but you may miss something critical if you’re not giving it your full attention.
Create a family calendar. Keeping everyone’s schedules posted together in one place can help avoid miscommunications and can help everybody know what everyone should be doing when, so you can avoid being the family command center and task master.
Build in breaks and an official lunchtime. Not taking adequate breaks from your work can quickly lead to burnout. You need the time to step away and focus on something other than work. Avoid doing chores or household tasks during these times. This can help you return to your work refreshed and avoid feeling burned out from home life.
Take time off from work. It might not be something you want to do while social distancing at home, especially if you’re hoping to still go on your summer vacation, but a day off can help you reset. Even a half day spent doing something restorative is beneficial!
Don’t forget to have fun and do things for yourself. You need time for recreation, especially now with the added demands of working from home while social distancing.
Taking time to establish boundaries and create more balance in your life is an investment in you and your family, and necessary to avoid burnout during this unprecedented time.