How to Balance Productivity & Rest When You Work From Home
Updated: Jul 16, 2021
Working from home has been quite an adjustment for a lot of folks.
I’ve been working from home for seven years now, but having my little guy home for 9 months during the pandemic really blurred the lines between work, school, and downtime.
When your home is your office, and maybe it’s still school, too, it makes it hard to create the boundaries we need to unplug. It can also make it hard to get motivated and/or switch off from work mode.
Working in an office provides the physical boundaries to help you mentally check out from work when you leave your office at 5pm. But now, you probably find yourself going back to your computer after dinner and again after the kiddos go to bed.
Working from home means the place you eat, sleep, rest and unwind blends together with the space you need to be productive and professional. These Zoom meetings and work calls are now in your sacred space!
On top of this, many of the typical escape-from-work routines are not as available.
The places and activities that you associate with self-care just aren’t accessible right now. Which makes it even harder to disengage from work—which could also make you feel like you’re resting too much.
I get it, friend. It’s an adjustment.
That’s why I wanted to share some tips that have helped me set boundaries so I can better balance work and rest from home.
Don’t skip the morning ritual
When you go to an office, the commute helps you switch gears from home to work-mode. This sacred time alone would be used however you want—you could listen to your favorite podcast or enjoy peace and quiet while running through the day in your mind.
Now, you sleep in a little later since you don’t have the commute (which is awesome) but then you roll out of bed right to your laptop and you’re skipping that time to yourself before work.
Be intentional with how you start your day. Cut back on sleeping in so you have time to enjoy a little me time. That favorite podcast with a cup of coffee, a morning meditation, yoga in the living room… whatever helps you wind up and ease into the day, do that.
Stop checking notifications after hours
It’s tempting to check your phone or computer after hours, trust me, I know.
But if you don’t set boundaries for yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. Try putting your laptop out of sight between certain hours (like 5pm-8am) and turn off email notifications on your phone—this just needs to be a standard practice.
Now listen, I’ll be honest, if I need to work on a creative task (every-so-often) after I put my son to bed, that’s one thing. But I don’t check notifications or respond to emails to protect my peace and sanity.
Stick to a designated workspace
If you’re working all over the home, it’s time to break that habit. A designated space helps your mind switch gears into work-mode even if you don’t have a true office.
My brother in law converted the nook in their bedroom into a beautiful, energy giving workspace. Even though the bed is only a few feet away, simply having a desk, chair and office supplies in one area makes it easier to stay organized and more productive.
It doesn’t seem like this would be a big difference, but it is. Training your mind to know that one specific area is for work—not the entire house—creates the space you need to maintain a healthy balance.