Getting work in balance
We frequently refer to work/life balance, especially in the context of working from home. But how do you achieve it? How do you keep your business and personal life in balance when they're cohabiting?
Everyone has a different view of 'balance' and how it should play out in their life. If you feel one area is out of balance, you first need to consider what you think is the ideal work/life balance. Then see how the following tips might help you achieve it.
With your office so close to hand there can be a tendency to work all the hours you can. It is one of the easiest ruts to get caught in and it’s definitely a destroyer of balance.
Whether you’re an employee or running a business you need to set your working hours (including breaks) and stick to them. Make sure friends, family, colleagues, clients and customers know your hours. If your work phone rings after hours, let it go to voicemail.
Only work weekends if it’s been scheduled or is standard for the work you do. One trick a client of mine uses is to answer a simple question: ‘If I worked in a traditional office would I drive back to the office to complete this work?’. If the answer’s no, then the task is not urgent enough to fit into your weekend.
Schedule time with friends
Part of a good balance is making sure you have a life. Think of all the fun activities you’d like to do. Are there friends you haven’t seen in months? Is there an art exhibition you’ve been meaning to see? Do you want to watch your child play football?
Start scheduling some of these activities into your evenings and weekends and leave the office behind.
Separate home and work areas
You’ll need some form of physical separation between home and the area designated your office. If it is in a separate room, close the door at the end of the day. If you are fortunate enough to have a separate building, only work there and do not bring paperwork or tasks back into your home.
If your office is part of a multi-purpose room you’ll need to be more creative. Is there a bookcase you could set up or a folding screen you could position around your work area at the end of the day?
Physical separations help you to separate mentally, making that all important shift from work mode to home mode.