Working from home has its challenges. On its own, that shift in environment takes some getting used to, especially if you’re used to working in an office, never mind having your partner or children there full-time as well! While space and distractions are common issues, the biggest challenge is that family and office life are overlapping, sometimes a little too much. Here’s how to keep work and home life separate as you work remotely.

Create a dedicated workspace

Having a completely separate workspace from the rest of the house is essential. It’s essential when it comes to productivity and focus, but also when it comes to switching off. Having a spare room is the most ideal, as you can shut the door at the end of the day and not be distracted by household chores when you are working. Obviously, this might not be possible for everyone, so decide where the most separate part of the house is.

Set your ‘work hours’

When do you work best? The world is your oyster when you work from home, so pick your hours. If that’s 6 am until 2 pm, you have the whole evening to fit in some exercise and good food. If it’s later in the day, then you can spend the morning home-schooling the kids. Whatever works best for you, set your hours and stick to them.

Tip: Its a good idea to bookend your workday. What we mean by this is to find something that symbolises the start of your workday and the end. It could be starting your day with a coffee in your work mugand then ending the day with a walk. 

Take a proper lunch break 

Schedule your lunch break and actually take it. You need nourishment for your brain to work at its optimum and a proper break does wonders for your productivity.

Get changed for work

You may be surprised, but you won’t be at your most productive if you’re working in your pyjamas! While your ‘work clothes’ maybe tracksuit bottoms and a slouchy t-shirt, that is fine. The most important thing is that you get changed out of what you slept in and into some fresh clothes to signal the start of the day.

Actually take a day off when you take a day off

We all need a day off every once in a while, especially when we are stuck indoors and the kids need home-schooling and the weekends don’t feel any different from the week… If you have planned a day off or you just want the weekends for family time, actually take the time off to recharge. Get your partner to hide your laptop or lock the spare room door if you have to. Just don’t get sucked into the “I just need to do one quick thing” void because the day will be gone before you know it.

Use your ‘commute time’ for self-care

One of the biggest positives about working from home is that you gain the time that you normally spend commuting! While it may be tempting to sleep a little longer, how about filling that time with things that will set you up for the day or help you switch off for the day? This could be meditating or exercising or taking it easy and reading a book. Whatever recharges your energy levels and releases serotonin (the happy hormone) for you, try to incorporate it into your daily routine.

Practice saying ‘no’

While learning to say ‘no’ to requests from clients is sometimes necessary, we are talking about saying ‘no’ to family and friends. Just because you are working from home, doesn’t mean your work isn’t as important. Explain this to your family and/or friends if they are requesting too much of you. Yes, your work is flexible, but you are still working 8 hour days. You’ll be happy to help them after your work hours!

Lower your expectations and don’t over-promise

Our expectations can be our downfall, so don’t set yourself up for failure. You won’t be working at your peak from home, especially with your partner and potentially your children at home, so don’t set high expectations for yourself. You won’t be able to keep a ‘show-home’ tidy house when everyone is stuck inside. You won’t be as productive as you would like so don’t over-plan or over-promise. If someone needs something, give yourself more time than you think you need and don’t be too hard on yourself generally.

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