When you first started working from home, you probably reveled in the fact that you had more time for your personal life. But the truth is, over time, it can be extremely difficult to separate work and life when you’re working remotely. After all, you don’t have a commute to separate work time and personal time, and you’re probably not kicking your heels off at the end of the day. Plus, your computer and files are always in sight—and if the work is there, shouldn’t you be doing it?
If you’re a remote worker who’s finding the line between work and life getting thinner and thinner, it’s time to make a few changes. Here are three habits that will help you give yourself some personal space and get back on track to creating a healthy balance between work and life—even if your office is the couch.
Don’t Sign On the Minute You Wake Up
Heading over to the computer first thing after you wake up—or worse, pulling it into bed with you—is a mistake. I know: You just want to fire off one quick thing. But I promise, you’ll get sucked in. And getting sucked in at 6 or 7 AM means you’ll have put in a 10-hour day by 4 or 5 PM. Do that all week, and you’re bound to burn out.
Instead, before you open your laptop, go through a morning routine. Take the time to get ready or, better yet, get out of the house. Taking a stroll before starting your workday will give you a buffer between clearing the sleep from your eyes and getting inundated with whatever the workday has in store.
When you do finally sit down at your computer, it can also be helpful to give yourself 15 or 20 minutes before signing into your chat client. Just like if you were walking into the office in the morning, take a few minutes to get acclimated before you let people start firing requests at you.
Do Nothing But Work in Your Workspace
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you work from home is to designate an area where you do nothing but work. If you have a home office, great! Set it up to be a good working space, with a big desk stocked with all the supplies you need to get the job done and no TV in sight.
If you don’t have space for an entire room devoted to work, you still have options. Your one must-have working remotely item? A desk chair—it’s the perfect piece of furniture to get you in the zone for work. If you must work at your dining room table or from a corner in your bedroom, add the desk chair and make it a sacred place where work gets done. Not only will the chair signify a specific section of your home for work, your back will thank you.
Leave Your Workspace When You Would Leave the Office
It’s easy to sit for 8-10 hours straight without actually talking to another human being. This isn’t exactly healthy. So, make sure to give yourself breaks as you would in a regular office. Lunchtime? Instead of eating at your computer, go into the other room and grab a bite. Similarly, when the time comes that colleagues would be leaving the office for the day, get out of the house for a bit (even if you have more work to do). By leaving the “office” to go somewhere and then returning home, you create a boundary in your mind between “required work” during the day and “extra hours” in the evening.
While working remotely can be a way to gain control of your life and schedule, it can also easily do the opposite by taking over your personal territory and time. So, if you want to embrace all of the benefits that working remotely has to offer, spend some time creating habits that foster a healthy work-life balance.
This article was written by Liz Presson