It’s also easy to let your work-life balance get out of hand without proper precaution. Maintaining a separation between your personal and professional life is important to both your success at work and creating a happy and healthy life outside of your career.
Here’s how to tell if your work from home life is balanced.
You work when you want to work, not when you have to work
There may come times when you need to work late or keep odd hours when working on a time-sensitive project. But most days, you should be able to work when you want to work (or on the schedule that your client or employer has agreed to). If you find yourself working longer hours than you prefer on a regular basis, you may have an unbalanced schedule.
Some questions to consider: Do you typically respond to emails strictly during working hours, or do you constantly check them all day? Does your employer (or client) respect your working hours, or do they send you work requests outside the agreed upon time frame?
Being busy is one thing. But perpetually spending too much time in your day doing work at the expense of every other activity is a sign that something may need adjusting, or that you need to have an honest conversation with your client or employer.
You have time to eat lunch
Do you have a half hour or hour each day to take a small break and enjoy (and possibly even prepare) your lunch?
It’s common for high achievers to eat while they work or skip lunch entirely. You shouldn’t sacrifice nutrition in the name of work, however. If you’re too busy to take a lunch break (or any kind of break throughout the day) you may need to examine how you’re managing your time. You may be taking on too many projects or not practicing good time management habits.
Your work is not interrupting your personal life
If you’re missing family or social events in the name of doing work on a recurring basis, you may have a work-life balance issue. Working from home shouldn’t extend your work day, bleeding into any planned outings with friends or family.
You should approach working at home with a professional attitude, not allowing outside distractions to impede your work. Conversely, it’s just as important not to let working from home interfere with your personal life.
You don’t feel any strong physical pain when you’re done with work
Does your back ache from sitting with bad posture all day? Do your wrists hurt with carpal tunnel after spending the majority of your day at a keyboard? How do your eyes feel after eight hours of staring at a computer screen?
Listen to your body and make sure the physical toll of work doesn’t cause you any long-lasting health issues. Remember to try to get in some exercise before or after work. Look for ergonomically designed chairs, standing desks, wrist braces, or blue light glasses to minimize the impact of a long day of work.
You’re able to take a vacation
If you’re an employee you may have personal time off provided to you by your employer. If you’re a freelancer you may have a more flexible schedule without an external partner to provide your vacation time. Either way, you should have some flexibility to take personal time throughout the year if you need to or want to.
It doesn’t have to be a fancy European vacation that lasts a month. It could be as simple as taking a three-day weekend to visit family and friends a few states away. But you should examine your schedule closely if you’re never able to take time off for any reason.