To stay safe, people need to work from home if their jobs allowed it. Besides learning how to work on new online platforms, working hours no longer end as soon as you leave the office. Some people are forced to work beyond their regular 8 hours to catch up with all the backlog caused by their work from home setup. But is it your fault?
Heads up — it’s not. You’re doing your best to finish all the tasks assigned to you while your pet or family member (they could be both) acknowledges your presence at home as an opportunity to play, have a chat or ask a favor. Not everyone has the luxury of a home office. So, here’s some advice to make the seemingly impossible work-life balance happen.
1. Set Your Boundaries
You need to set a schedule you can stick to. Regular working hours will make it easier for you to switch off your devices when it’s time to clock out. This way, you’ll enjoy some time to yourself outside work, and maybe even get some sleep.
Setting a schedule will also make it easier for you to tell everyone you live with that you cannot be disturbed during a particular time. You can even include a break in there where they are not allowed to bother you so that you can get that well-deserved rest.
Make sure to give them a list of situations when it’s okay to disturb you. There are probably some things you wouldn’t want to miss out on. Just make sure that they keep the noise down. According to a 2011 study, it’s not going to help in your productivity.
2. Divide Your Space
As creatures of habit, we need to figure out a way to condition ourselves to stick to the schedule we made. One way we can reinforce that habit is to assign areas of our home for particular tasks. Just like how we lie in bed to fall asleep, setting up specific spaces for specific tasks will increase our productivity. If we keep the habit of being in those areas to complete particular tasks, it might become an automatic routine for us to remain focused on the task at hand whenever we enter that area.
This is similar to how offices affect the productivity of employees. A 2012 study on the effects of working outside the office on the productivity of employees found that the environment of an employee dramatically affects their ability to be productive, depending on whether it’s dull or creative work. Having a dull environment keeps you from being creative, but it will make you more productive during dull or tedious tasks, and vice versa.
You can assign an area for exercising, for work, for leisure, etc. It’s entirely up to your priorities, but it will help you become more productive.
3. It’s Okay to Ask for Help
For most people, it’s challenging to focus in a cluttered environment. Sometimes, people use cleaning their homes as an excuse to procrastinate work. In other cases, it’s difficult for parents to work because they need to make sure their children are attending online classes, or that they have food on the table, or that the laundry is done.
Hiring some help will allow you to focus more on your tasks at hand and keep you from being stressed at home. Whether it’s house cleaning, babysitting, or an all-around housekeeper, it’s okay to ask for help. If you can’t cook at the moment because you need to submit something by the end of the day, order food! It will save you time and make sure that everything and everyone at home is attended to.
4. Eat Healthy and Exercise
You need to be healthy to stay productive. Energy drinks, junk food, and couch surfing on your breaks will only get you so far. If you’ve already got exercising on your daily schedule, great job! You are less likely to get sick than those who don’t. Exercising releases endorphins that keep you happy and an adrenaline rush to keep you motivated.
Eating healthy will also clear your mind. You will no longer experience the adverse effects of overly processed fast food when you start eating healthy. There are plenty of options to order from. Make sure that you request from somewhere that specializes in healthy cooking.
A work-life balance during the pandemic does seem impossible. But these small steps in your day-to-day will surely keep you primed for that extended workday. A little self-control and enough strength to ask for help go a long way during these difficult times.