Many of us have been working from home for the last couple of years due to the global pandemic. Some of us were doing so before, and regardless of the timeline, working from home, or working from the office can be challenging. For remote workers, who face constant interruptions from family members or pets looking for attention, or doorbells announcing deliveries, it can be difficult to separate our home lives from work. Juggling all of this can be hectic and even stressful, so how do we manage this while maintaining a. work-life balance?
PLAN FOR THE WEEK: NOT EVERYTHING CAN BE A PRIORITY
If you don't control your schedule, it will control you. Figure out which of your tasks are the most important; these are also known as the mission-critical items. This category includes catching up on big projects and should be prioritized. In order to maintain the aforementioned balance, you should also prioritize important life tasks, such as medical appointments or family meetings.
The next set of tasks falls under the category of those that will become critical if not managed. This includes business activities such as meetings, emails, and managing staff, combined with personal activities like working out, meal planning, home chores, and family time.
Tasks like returning non-urgent calls or checking social media messages need to be completed but should be scheduled last. Finally, tasks you can do without are ones that really don't need your full attention or time such as listening to a co-worker complain about their job or making your child's school play costume from scratch.
Some people schedule tasks in their calendars using time-blocking. This means putting things that are important in batches. For example, if you write or do research regularly, you could block a certain time every day on your calendar to make sure you are not disturbed or distracted during that time. This also ensures that no one external can double-book you.
It also helps to block time for less prioritized activities such as scrolling through social media or responding to messages. When you do this, your mind knows that you have set time aside for these activities, which will help you stay focused when tending to more important tasks.
AUTOMATE CERTAIN TASKS OR ACTIVITIES
Look for aspects in both your work and personal life that you can automate. For example, you can set up electronic reminders for certain activities, tasks, or meetings from your calendar. You could make notes on a digital platform, such as emails or docs, both of which are easily accessible. Often, we spend our time looking for notes we've written down, so this allows us to keep track of them.
Here are some other aspects of your work and personal life that you can automate:
- Organize important documents and files
- Automate backups and maintenance
- Turn on smartphone features such as voice activation or silent mode
- Set up meal planning through online apps
- Automate your bill payments
- Automate certain aspects of your home such as heating it or feeding your pets
FIND A HOME FOR ALL YOUR ITEMS
Being organized helps you stay ready and prepared. . Waste less time looking for things by having a place for your important or regularly used items. This could be as simple as preparing your gym bag and keeping it near the door. You could have a tray at the entrance of your home that has your keys, wallet, and other essential items.
Anything that you can do that helps you make fewer decisions throughout the week will also help you stay organized. This requires blocking time and planning for such things as meals for the week, drafting automated responses for regular emails, budgeting, or creating shopping lists.
SHUT OFF NOTIFICATIONS DURING “DEEP WORK”
Our phones have become an integral part of our lives and there are times when they can easily distract us from our work or personal lives. Therefore, it is important to shut off notifications to minimized distractions during critical times such as meetings, important work during your time-block, family time or any other important time in your work and life.
BUILD MENTAL RESILIENCE
It is not easy to build and maintain mental resilience, especially when trying to maintain a work-life balance. People or thoughts can come in the way of how we feel about ourselves. You can slowly build your resilience up and one of the important ways in which you can is by making time to forgive yourself and not be too hard on yourself. It takes time to adapt to change or say no to certain situations, and we need to work our way up to these new habits.
It also helps to have a supportive network comprised of positive relationships with your family, friends, and community members. Finally, it is important to take care of yourself by relaxing, exercising, eating, and sleeping well. Putting yourself and your mental health first can help build your resilience to maintain a work-life balance.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.