Things are still hard right now. You probably feel pretty lucky to be able to work from home, but on the other hand, you want to pull your hair out because you’re constantly working from home. Without clear boundaries, it’s difficult to step away from work when your home and your office are sharing the same space. So what should you do? Let’s take a look at my top tips to balance your home and work-life when working from home.
Having a dedicated place to do your work will separate home from leisure and give you a zone to do each. Your optimal setup would have an actual home office, in a separate room, preferably with a door. But that might not be something you can achieve given your current floor plan or budget. And that’s ok! Here’s some cheats to give you a divided space without doing any construction:
I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining routines during this seemingly never-ending-time at home. Dressing for work and holding yourself to traditional work hours can do wonders for your body and soul. Just because you can work in your pj’s all day, doesn’t mean you should. Lol
Your routines should support your day by giving you a bookend of energy in the morning and relaxation at night. If you’re interested in refreshing yours, here’s a free mini ebook that walks you through how I recommend doing it.
There are all sorts of things that need to get onto our schedules each day, and family time is often overlooked or pushed to the side due to work or other obligations. Family time should be a nonnegotiable. Connecting with your family shows them that they are important and that you love and respect them enough to make time for them in your day.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or even take up much time. Keep in mind, this is time outside of meal time, tv time, or commute to activities time. This is just you and your family, hanging out, spending time together, talking and maybe working on something together. Be present in the moment. Turn off notifications and messages. Just relax and enjoy this precious time.
I know I just said, “try to keep a normal work schedule”…but maybe that schedule is just not cutting it when you’re trying to juggle other people’s schedules as well as your own. Work with your employer to see if you can complete your work during nontraditional hours that better suit your family. For example, if you have school age kiddos and you need to supervise their Zoom calls, could you do your work on a split shift part in the early morning and part in the evening? Or possibly work on the weekend and free up a couple days during the week to support your family better? This is the time to think outside of the box and see how to make small shifts and changes that can provide a better work-life balance for you and your family.
Don’t be the yes person. It’s hard. I know. But now more than ever you have to be clear on your priorities and how you spend your time. Protect your time with your family. Don’t burn the candle at both ends. Don’t accept proposals to events, projects, meetings, calls, or any other obligation in the moment. Politely explain that you need to check your schedule first before committing. Then, when you check your schedule, remember that when you say yes to something, you say no to something else. What would be the trade-off to working it into your schedule? What would you have to move or cancel? Are you ok with that swap? Is your family? Be mindful of the balance of your commitments, for both your work and your family.
If you’re able to be flexible in your schedule and you have littles that need your attention throughout the day, consider working in bursts so that you focus on work for a couple hours and then switch to doing something with your kids. This works especially great with kids who are able to be involved in busy projects by themselves or watch a short movie without getting bored halfway through. Repeat the schedule throughout the day so that you have a good balance between work and play. Your kids will appreciate you taking a break from work to spend time with them and will be less likely to interrupt you once you adopt this strategy because they know that more “parent time” is just around the corner.
Being stuck inside is hard. And depending on the size of your place and your access to parks and green space, it can be doubly hard. It is so important to get outside every day. Even if the weather is crummy, even if you don’t feel like it, even if you think you don’t have the time. Step out for at least 5 minutes to shake off the stuck-at-home-blues and I promise you will instantly feel refreshed. If it’s nice out, go for a quick walk around the block or head over to a park if you can. Grab a book and sit under a tree for a little bit. Anything you can do to give your body a break from sitting in front of a screen on the couch, at a table, or on the bed.
It doesn’t have to involve exercise, but if you’re able to combine your outdoor time with some stretching, yoga, a HIIT workout, or other heart-healthy activity, it will help to reverse the changes your body is going through from lack of movement. Plus doing them outside in the fresh air and soft grass feels so much nicer than doing them on hardwood or carpet where you can see every crumb and dust bunny hidden below the furniture. Even if you weren’t into exercise before the pandemic, you were still much more active in just your basic daily activities like going shopping, walking around the office, or walking to your car in the parking lot. All of those little things added up and now that you’re working from home, your mobility has most likely decreased significantly.
As a professional organizer, I know firsthand that being organized can change your life. When you stop wasting time looking for things or trying to balance a messy, erratic life, you end up having more quality time for yourself and your family. You are able to destress and relax without guilt. If you are struggling with any part of the organization process, I would love to help you move past your roadblocks so you can experience that sweet sigh of relief that comes from being clutter-free and organized. Let’s hop on a free consult call so you can lay it all on me and we can start making it better.
This is the hardest of all. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every family, but if you’re able to share childcare duties with someone else, hop on it! This might be with a spouse, friend, family member, or a pod of school friends. Of course, I encourage safe social distancing practices and following the CDC guidelines. Taking all of that into account, I hope that you find someone that you can lean on during this time to help lighten your load.
Now is not the time to maintain a white glove level of clean “just in case” guests come over. LOL! Relax on nonessential house cleaning to free up some time on your schedule to work on other projects. Don’t be so hard on yourself and know that there is more being asked of you now than ever before. If you can’t get to dusting the tchotkes in your china cabinet this week…well, so be it! Just don’t skip counters, bathroom surfaces, and door handles. Anything high-touch should still be cleaned and sanitized regularly.
Meal prepping saves so. much. time. It is basically just task batching with food, so of course it makes sense to do it if you are working from home. If you’re the type of person that can eat the same or similar-ish things a few days a week, meal prepping will work great for you. Decide on a menu, prep the ingredients, portion them out in containers for each day of the week, and voìla. You solved the problem of “what am I going to eat today” as well as saved a huge chunk of time taking out all of the ingredients to create each meal in the moment. Meal prepping works for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, kids meals, all of it. There are tons of resources out there to teach you how to do it and provide inspiration to keep it fresh so you don’t get bored. I like Meal Prep Daily who showcases several different accounts and Pep and Rally who offers a full-on meal prepping service that takes the guesswork out of deciding what to make and how to make it.
Above all, remember that you are doing the best you can and just by doing that, you are doing a great job!
For more information on how to squeeze every last minute out of your schedule, click here.
To see which 5 areas of your home to organize first, click here.
To refresh your routines so you can bookend your day with energy & relaxation, click here.
To join the heart-centered community of friends you haven’t met yet, click here.