Do you feel like worktime is blurring into personal time? While you may like the idea of skipping the commute and working in sweats, for those new to working from home, it can be a culture shock not to have a clear distinction between work and home. If left unchecked, not having a defined work life separation can lead to burnout. Luckily, there are ways to make sure your work life doesn’t become your entire life:
Have Defined Work Hours
Without the structure of an office workday, it can be difficult to completely unplug from your work life. Considering that your workspace is mere steps from everything else in your home, it can be tempting to keep working after normal business hours. This is why it is important to keep your workday schedule consistent. Just because you can work from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep doesn’t mean that you should. Yes, it may be easier said than done, but when you’ve worked your regular hours, finish up and walk away. This will help you recharge for the next day, which will help you stay fresh and focused in the long-term.
Use Tools to Stay Focused
Having issues staying focused and on task? You aren’t alone. A recent study found that a third of all remote workers had issues managing their time effectively. You may experience situational stress that wouldn’t be present in an office setting, and this can be exacerbated when others are home with you. There are two tools that can help immensely in staying focused.
First, create a to-do list. It may seem basic, but simply having a list of items that you need to finish for the day will give your day some much needed structure. Consider using an app that allows you to keep a digital list that can be updated and moved around as needed. It’s very satisfying to see a project disappear from the list when you finish it, and this process will keep you motivated.
Secondly, have a digital calendar that has all your project due dates in one place so you don’t have to dig to find a due date, or be blindsided by a project that slipped your mind. It is also important to stay on task and complete one project at a time. This will keep confusion to a minimum, and you’ll be able to cross more items off of your list.
Take Your Breaks
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be taking breaks. Taking a few minutes away from your screen allows you to refresh, refocus, and rest your eyes, all of which are beneficial for staying focused and productive throughout the work week. In a recent study, nearly half of new remote workers forgot to take their breaks during the day, with many of them working through their lunch.
Finally, checking emails or finishing up a project outside of work hours may be an unavoidable reality of remote work, but it is not something that you should make a habit, especially if you are technically off the clock. If you find that you’re doing this regularly, talk to your manager about adjusting your hours so that work stays within your working hours as much as possible.