Working from home can lead to unique challenges when it comes to establishing the right work-life balance. These three tips can help.
The coronavirus pandemic led to a massive change in how many people work: Technology let many of us stay connected and productive while working from home full time or a few days a week. But the pressure to be “always on” can upset your work-life balance and impact your health and personal relationships, as well as your productivity. Want to create — or maintain — the work-life balance you need? Here are some ideas to consider.
1. Unplug after hours
Establish a firm quitting time at the end of each day and stick to it. Try to limit the amount of times you check email or answer your phone for anything business-related after hours, especially on weekends and an hour before bedtime, because screen viewing can disrupt sleep. If you’re required to stay connected with work on your days off in case of an urgent matter, consider discussing times when you will and won’t be available, as well as the best way to reach you, so you can maintain boundaries.
2. Exercise regularly
Working out boosts both your emotional health and your physical health. The good news is you don’t have to run 5 miles on a treadmill to see results. Research1 shows that just taking a half-hour walk each day can help you:
- Think more clearly, feel more energetic, and sleep better.
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Enhance your overall sense of well-being.
- Prevent weight gain.
- Improve your memory.
3. Set long- and short-term goals and priorities
It’s important to model how you want your life to look, says Michael D. Rabin, Ph.D., a life coach and consultant based in New York City. Rabin suggests this: Map out a diagram of the percentage of your life you want to devote to work versus other pursuits over the next two to five years. “If you’re consciously working toward a specific kind of balance, it’s easier to make decisions along the way that enable you to get there,” he says. For example, if you want to be more involved with your family, you may decide to forego a work promotion if it requires too many additional hours per week.
You could also set unique goals in major areas of your life, such as professional development, personal growth, family, and friends. Once you’ve identified those categories, list your priorities for the next several months, as well as long-term goals of a year or more. Consider reviewing the lists with a friend or loved one who can help motivate you to stick to those goals.
1. “Why is walking the most popular form of exercise?” American Heart Association, Jan. 10, 2017.