Finding a work-life balance while working from home: Give yourself some space and grace!
The COVID-19 virus shook the world at the start of 2020 and the effects of the pandemic are still felt by everyone as we look for answers. Life as we know it suddenly was thrown out the window and new routines were needed in everyone’s personal life and work life as businesses shut down and working in the office transitioned to working at home. One of the biggest struggles for workers has been finding a balance between the work life and home life while working remote.
To avoid burnout at work and at home, here are some tips that have helped me stay motivated and positive during this time (give or take the occasional 10 minutes every now and then when I think the world is coming to an end!):
Track your productivity
At work – What have you accomplished during this time? Make notes of projects you have completed and keep track of what still needs to be done. If you’re feeling unmotivated, take a look at your list and remind yourself of your successes.
At home – Have you picked up a new hobby? Maybe finished a book? Watched a seven-season series on Netflix and completed it within three weeks? These are all things to celebrate! It really is the little things that make a huge difference during this time.
At work – In order to stay engaged in a conversation, it’s important to keep things brief. Stick to the agenda and keep the conversation moving.
At home – Be honest with what you need and ask for help. Talk about your emotions and communicate with those who can offer advice and support.
Be responsive, but also be patient
At work – Just because you message back within a minute of someone asking you a question doesn’t mean everyone will be as responsive. A coworker of yours may have their five children running around and one of them may be hungry.
At home – Everyone copes with things differently. It’s important to understand that. Not everyone is okay. Help when you can, but don’t forget to take care of yourself.
At work – Collaborate with your team! Check in on them and see how they are doing. Just because you can’t yell across the office hall to see how your coworkers are doing doesn’t mean you can’t email or Skype them. Social interactions you had at work can still be maintained.
At home – FaceTime your mom. Have a four-way call with your best friends. Talk about what’s going on. Do what makes you happy and even though you can’t gather in large groups or in public, you can still find relief from the day in just a simple text.
At work – Having a designated spot to work is super important. You may have one spot or three. For me, depending on what I’m doing and my mood I like to work in different places (my desk, the couch, my patio). What works for you may not work for others. Find what is best for you.
At home – Since you’ve been spending more time at home, make it your sanctuary! Buy a new mattress if your old one keeps giving you back problems. Decorate your home with colors that you love. Break out the hammer and nails and complete that DIY project you’ve had on your mind for years.
At work – When do you start your day? Do you take a break for lunch? When do you end your workday? Set normal work hours and remember to turn off your devices when the workday is over. Try to block out your biggest distractors (social media, noise, etc.) during the workday to help you stay focused. If your routine is constantly changing, be up front with your boss and let them know your schedule if you have other things to take care of during the day. (Schooling for children, appointments, etc.)
At home – Before you start work every morning, do you sit on the couch and drink coffee while watching the news? After you work do you exercise? Play with your kids? Consistency helps when things seem out of control. If a routine helps you, stick to it.
It’s important to keep work at work which is good for everyone in your life, but it can be a struggle to separate the two. Learning how to cope with life changes can be difficult, as I’m sure all of us can relate. The one thing I’ve learned during this time and made most important to remind myself of is to have grace for yourself. Forgive yourself for not having the motivation to work out on some days. Give yourself a break if you don’t have the strength to cook dinner for your family. That Zoom call your entire family wants to have but you’re in a bad mood? Say no. Living in the middle of a pandemic is stressful enough so be kind to yourself. All you can do is try! Try to separate work like from your personal life to allow yourself some time to breathe. Unwind after the workday the best way you know how to. Control what you can where you can and try to make the best of it.
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