When you’re new to remote work, finding that perfect balance between work and life can be difficult. Without an office setting to determine exactly when, where, and how you work, you may find yourself goofing off too much or working all day long leaving no time for yourself.
Below are some excellent methods for finding the perfect in-between as you take advantage of the perks that come from working from home.
Carve out space for a home office
Many people who work from home actually crave structure. But when you work remotely or work for yourself, you may have to create your own structure.
One of the first things you’ll need is a clearly defined home office space. Even if it is just a corner of a room, make sure there is an area that’s just used for work.
Set regular hours and stick to them
If you work for yourself or your company leaves it up to you to determine when you work, give yourself specific hours. To set up these hours, first answer some simple questions:
- When will your customers or clients get the most value from your work?
- When are you your most energetic and creative?
- When can you fit work in around other commitments, like childcare needs?
By looking at all of these questions, you can triangulate a flexible, but steady schedule for yourself. Don’t be surprised if you feel much more productive and balanced just by solidifying where you work and when you work from home!
Set reasonable goals and work toward them
When you are working from home, you may have fewer “touch points” that confirm how well you are doing. Achieving work-life balance requires you to push yourself and grow as “your own boss,” even if you also have a boss elsewhere. Figure out where you are lagging behind in your performance, and start setting goals. Do you want to send 80 contact emails this week? What about 85 next week? Do you want to finish a project by Thursday so you can get quick feedback before the weekend? By determining what’s quantifiable in your work you’ll start to feel like you are succeeding more often. You’ll also have a better indication for when work has been completed so you can actually take a break!
Take advantage of work calls and other social opportunities
Most of us need some kind of socialization during the day, so make a point to spread out your person-to-person communication and socializing opportunities during remote work days.
Try to get a phone call or a video chat in every day or two to break up the day. By spreading them out throughout the week you’ll feel less isolated and won’t have have any work days that are overly communication heavy.
It also helps to plan lunches or coffee shop work dates so you can get some socializing in without having to go all the way to the office.
Enjoy the flexibility
Working from home is a major perk, but you need to know how to manage your time. If you don’t have to commute, you can linger over your coffee or read a book for fun.
Another option is to start your work day early so you can end early, giving yourself more time with your family. If your schedule is flexible, take advantage of day-time grocery shopping (so much emptier!) and schedule appointments with the doctor or dentist. You deserve to work hard and also have a life full of balance.