Borders between working and relaxing are shifting fast. Our emails are always buzzing in our phones, we are always within a reach, always updating ourselves with new info and in a constant “ready for work” mode. Well, pardon me if I’m talking about only myself here but I’m pretty sure what’s stated is true for many of you as well. There must be a reason why you’re reading this article! So let’s grab some ideas for finding the balance between work and life when working from home.
Finding the balance between work and life when working from home is a very painful subject when it comes to being a freelancer or owning an online business.
I’m a freelancer, blogger and online course creator myself and I absolutely adore what I do. If I’d have the option, I might go for working all-day-long. But as much as I’m up for that, some balance is necessary anyway. There are family and friends waiting for the attention, there’s some self-time that waits for the reflection, some time for inspiration and motivation, in whatever way you may prefer it.
One thing is very clear: the balance is crucial. As soon as things get out of control, stakes are high. My best suggestion: even if you feel like your life is in a perfect balance, read through this post and grab some new ideas!
Finding the balance between work and life when working from home
IDEA #1 Set working hours
When working from home, it’s hard to either start or stop working. Therefore, setting your working schedule straight is an amazing idea! The best way to do this is to use your best judgment and evaluate your past experience.
- When are you the most productive?
- When your clients need you the most?
- When your friends and family need you the least?
The next step is to understand what’s the schedule you’ll be able to stick with? Setting unrealistic goals is the first step to failure in this case. Don’t try to overwork yourself. Just because you’ve been sitting by your computer 12 hours daily, doesn’t mean you have to continue this way.
Let’s say, we need around 5 active and productive hours of work daily. My 5 hours are separated into 2 chunks: “early shift” from 9 AM to 12 PM and “late shift” from 5 PM to 7 PM. Since I have clients from all over the world and our working hours differ, this works the best for me and for them! Any time in between can be spent for my personal projects, for my friends and family.
Important: try to stick with your schedule as much as possible. Being a freelancer gives us tons of freedom but having a schedule is crucial if you’re looking to find balance in your life!
How to stick with your working schedule:
- Don’t check your email around this time
- Send out an automatical response about your availability
- Use your email signature to inform your clients
IDEA #2 Create a dedicated working space
I understand that this is not always possible. And, believe me, I’m the one who’s usually insisting on how impossible this is. But since I’m traveling and moving often, I’ve found many different ways to actually creating your own “office space” so here are some tips you can use!
If you have a separate room,
whether it’s a dedicated office or just a room no one might be using, go for it! Working in a separate room is THE best option. Whenever you have your free time, you should avoid entering this room at all times (except for the case of fire (although then you definitely shouldn’t be in there either…)). Having a separate office space definitely will give you the working vibe whenever you’ll enter it. Besides that, creating work friendly environment around you is another great bonus.
If you’re limited with space,
make sure to find a table you can use as your working space. Once again, as much as possible – dedicate it to working only. In some cases it can be a table in your living room, in others it’ll be a table in the corner of your bedroom. The placement doesn’t really matter as long as you can call this your office whenever you need. What’s important: to keep it away from the distractions. In case you have kids in your house, make sure to move this table to the place where they won’t be running through daily. Make sure that no one interrupts your work and know your working hours!
But what to do if you REALLY don’t have any space to dedicate to your work?
Check the option to move outside your house occasionally for some more productive working hours. Whether it’d be a coffee shop, coworking space or anything else that suits you. Working from home without any “work-a-like” space can be really hard both for your life and work balance, as well as your productivity. If that’s an option – consider purchasing a simple table that you can put anywhere and use as your office. Standing desks can also be an amazing solution, especially, if you’re low on space!
IDEA #3 Turn off the notifications
One of the best tips for finding the balance between work and life when working from home is to turn off the notifications! I was surprised that for many this seems like the mission impossible. I’ve turned out notifications for literally years already and, believe me, I haven’t missed a thing!
If you have a separate phone for work, it’s even better. You can just turn on the Flight mode until your working hours!
But other than that, make sure to turn off, at least, email notifications so you’re not bothered with new emails while having some time off. I’d also suggest turning off social media notifications. They always give us the urge to check everything as soon as possible but when you’re having some time off, checking your phone all the time might not be the best activity…
App: Forest app is an AMAZING solution. By staying away from your phone, you get points and with these points, you can plant REAL trees.
IDEA #4 Plan daily time for reading
Well, don’t get me started on this one! We all know that reading is very beneficial in many different aspects. I’ve always loved a good book but I never really had time or dedication to start reading in the middle of a busy day. Then Kindle came in my life and couldn’t be more thankful!!!
Now it’s not only easier to access all my books but also to have my book always with me, wherever I go. Here’s how I have managed to squeeze in some time for reading even in the busiest days ever:
- I read right after waking up. One of my morning rituals is a hot tea right after waking up. Since I’m up the earliest, the house is still quiet and I can sip my tea and read my book. Usually, it’s around 30 mins of my time before the day starts. The good news: I always pump up myself with new ideas and motivation so it’s definitely an AMAZING start of my day. By the way, this ritual was inspired by a great book called “The Miracle Morning”
- I read while having my coffee. I’m not the kind of “wake up, drink coffee” girl. I like having my coffee when I want to have my coffee. And very often it happens after a few hours of work. Then it’s also the best time to take a moment off and grab a book!
- I read before going to sleep. Ever since I started waking up earlier, I round my day up at 10 PM. That’s when I get in the bed and spend around 30 mins of reading. I also dim the lights around me for a better nights sleep. And it’s working like a charm!
Ever since I started these rituals, I read A LOT more than I used to. Now those can be even several books per week. If you’re looking for some inspirational read, you can take a look at these Book suggestions for online entrepreneurs.
IDEA #5 Schedule friend & family activities
In a daily rush “Yes, let’s arrange the someday!” turns out to be some day after a few months, in the best case scenario. Therefore, it’s actually crucial to schedule friend & family activities in advance, just like you schedule your to-do list or any personal appointments. Give the value for activities with your loved ones and make space for them in your schedule!
Having enough time out of your house is definitely one of the most crucial steps to finding the balance between work and life when working from home. Don’t underestimate fresh air, laughs, and chats. When it’s a busy season in your business, it can be really hard to get out of it and don’t feel guilty. But turn it all around and understand that you’re actually benefiting from spending time with people outside the online world. Any chat can give you new inspiration, new energy boost and additional ideas for your further work! It’s crucial to have some Play time in your daily life.
So how can you schedule these things?
- Decide on 2-3 days in your schedule when you can spare some time for your friends or family. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t spend any time with them outside of these hours… But make these something special!
- Arrange the best times to meet up and go to a new coffee shop, hop on bikes or get out of the city for a walk. Even a few hours of weekly adventure can do wonders to your balance!
- At least once per month meet someone you haven’t met for months or maybe even years! Catching up with old friends might give your life a new thrill. This is especially fun if you don’t have kids or the other half. Meeting your old friends can open many new doors and make your life more social!
- Sometimes meeting your friends or family is not so easily possible, therefore, you can always schedule a Skype chat as well. Don’t do it in the middle of your work but schedule it in advance and make it as long as you please, without feeling guilty!
IDEA #6 Move daily!
I don’t want to exaggerate but ever since I started running and doing yoga, I’ve been feeling better in many aspects of my life, including the overall work and life balance.
That’s a no secret that fitness is crucial for our well-being. And, once again, I don’t want to get much into physical or psychological details of this. All I can assure – daily fitness WILL make you feel better!
For a long time, I was struggling with my fitness efforts since I always felt obligated to do things I didn’t like. Yoga got boring, running got tiring. When it was cold, I was too lazy to get out, when it was hot, it was too hot. When I had tons of work to do, I had no willpower to get on my yoga mat.
But all of that changed after I read a book called “The Primal Blueprint”. It covers tons of amazing information on how we can become healthier and happier but one of the most important things I took from it: you have to work out only when you FEEL like working out. This is something you shouldn’t schedule. You shouldn’t follow one strict plan. You just have to get moving! Feel what feels the most like you and do it when your body is ready and saying – yes, let’s go! If you’re doing sports when you’re tired or “just because you have to“, you won’t ever get all the benefits from it.
Whether it’s running, swimming, yoga, walking, climbing – find what YOU like and do it when YOU feel like it. Yes, even daily walk counts! You don’t have to break yourself to “count“. You just have to get moving!
This will be enough for now! I hope you found what you were looking for and got some inspiring ideas for finding the balance between work and life when working from home. The most important thing is not to get into a rut. I know that you have to work A LOT. I do too. All of us have to work a lot, especially if we’ve set big goals. At the same time, there’s no use in doing all this work if our lives are not in balance.
Other articles for you:
- Start doing instead of planning!
- Learn to fight online fatigue
- Is offline time a real thing for freelancers?