Balance has always been important to me in my life. For most people,
the balance between work time and personal time is, unfortunately,
weighted too heavily in the direction of work. It is more common than ever before to have a two-income household
with both parents working just to make ends meet. It can be difficult
to make time for family and recreation.
Even if you're not a parent, you probably still find yourself
challenged with finding more time for your personal life and not being
consumed by work. Surprisingly, many people struggle with taking advantage
of newfound free time when making the transition to working from home.
Without an office to go to each day, and the reminder of everyone
else going to lunch or leaving for the day, it is easier to
get "lost" in work and forget to keep time for yourself.
Although working from home has tremendous advantages,
it comes with obstacles as well. One of the biggest is not being able to switch off.
When you walk out of an office at the end of the day you can forget about work
(at least some people can). At home it's common to feel there's always a bit more
you could do before you call it quits for the day.
Here are some tips to help you find balance while working at home:
1) Create a schedule for work time/personal time.
Treat your study, or wherever you work, like a real office. Close
the door at 6 p.m. (or whatever closing time is for you) and
don't open it until you are beginning work the next morning. Some
people find that it helps them draw a clearer boundary between
work and home life if they create a routine. This includes set work
hours for each day.
2) Get involved in community or non-work related affairs.
Try to get involved with non-work related groups, organizations,
or volunteer opportunities. Take a class at the local adult
school on cooking, learn to play a musical instrument, join a gym,
or take part in a book discussion club. Make time to socialize
and meet new people, particularly if you live alone.
3) Take short breaks.
One of the best advantages of working at home
is that you can usually afford to take a short break at
various points throughout the day.
4) Schedule time for personal things.
Although this may seem like a strange idea - you may find that
when you start working at home you often "forget" the time and
get caught up in work. After all, there are fewer distractions at home.
Schedule time for personal things like picnics, reading, exercise, etc.
just as you would schedule a work appointment or phone call.
By doing this you make sure you are building time into your schedule
for this very important personal time.
You will find that if you let your leisure time decrease too much,
your relationships begin to suffer. Indulge yourself in the freedom this
method of working brings. It's important not to get so busy that you forget
to take time out to play!
I hope you will try to implement these tips into your work habits and bring greater balance and joy to your life.