The words work/life balance first started being tossed around in the 1980s when the women’s movement really took off. Women were hitting the workforce in droves, but were still expected to keep things up to par at home. Many women seemed to “have it all” but in reality, they were sacrificing their own well-being by trying to “be it all”.
Things haven’t changed much in 30 years, have they? At least not with the women I know! So many of my clients are spending so much time making sure things are running smoothly at the office and at home, they have no time to rest.
Now with millions of people working remotely on a long-term or permanent basis, it is even more difficult to separate the two.
But balancing your office life with your home life is only as difficult as you let it be. As with many things, it all amounts to expectations. You may start by asking yourself…
What expectations am I putting on myself?
What expectations are others imposing on me?
These expectations may or may not be realistic, but either way, eliminating the habit of trying to have it all, or take care of everything and everyone is only going to result in disappointment and a very unhealthy “you”. And chances are, you are already dropping the ball somewhere – so why not be more mindful of what you’re actually dropping? And where?
Finding work/life balance has many benefits
When you seek to obtain work/life balance, not only will you find yourself being more productive at both places, you’ll also be giving people the gift of your undivided attention. When you successfully separate work and home life, you’re allowing both to get the best version of you.
How to achieve work/life balance when working from home
Have a designated “office” – even if it’s a TV tray and folding chair
Set up an area specifically for work – whether it’s an entire room or just a desk in the corner of the living room. Keep all your work equipment and papers there, and especially your to-do list.
Ensure that your family knows that when you’re in your designated workspace you’re off limits. But also make sure you take short breaks every 1-2 hours to address any needs they may have that can’t wait until the end of your workday.
No matter how tempting it may be, refrain from using your kitchen table or living room sofa as your workspace. Keep those areas only for use during leisure/family time!
Close up shop at the end of the work day
Literally purchase or even just make a sign that says CLOSED and place it on top of your computer at quitting time. I recommend shutting down your computer at the end of each work day so you aren’t tempted to view it during family time.
It can be really tempting to check work emails at home, and vice versa! But again, your goal here is to find balance, right? I recommend setting up your work email with a different app from your personal email. Check work email during work hours, and personal email during personal hours – and don’t cross over!
What can you delegate or outsource?
Assign more tasks to others, whether that means giving your assistant more responsibility or imposing a new family rule that everyone does their own laundry. Not only are you freeing up yourself for more important things, you’re giving them opportunities to learn and grow.
Start getting your groceries from a shopping service. Subscribe to a home-delivered meal plan. Hire a lawn service, a house cleaning service, house cleaners… there are apps and services for all kinds of tasks that will help you free up time by outsourcing. Why spend time scrubbing a toilet when you could be cuddling with your kids?
Most of all, abandon perfectionism
Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t “get it all done” – some days you don’t have to be “good” – you just have to be “good enough”. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself and always remember, you’re only human!
As a Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, I help people train their brain to think differently so they can break old, unwanted patterns. Book your free consultation and assessment online.