With no busses or trains to catch, no coworkers getting lunch and coffee, and no packing up to go home at the end of the day, it can be hard to determine when to start and stop work. By making a schedule, you create a framework around which to work. How strict you make your timetable is up to you and how you work best; however, having at least a loosely-structured plan of when to wake up, when to start and stop work, and how to factor in other tasks around your work is the starting point for maintaining a work-life balance while working from home.
2. Start the day with meditation
Starting the day with meditation helps you clear your mind and set your productivity for the rest of the day. If you have ever experienced the phrase “you woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning”, you know that the mood in which you start your day can have an impact on the way the rest of your day goes. By meditating, you can begin the day with a positive and healthy mindset. It also helps you start that all important routine.
Heartfulness Meditation is a free practice with a number of different types of resources to help you with meditation. New to meditation or unsure where to start? Try our Meditation for Beginners video.
3. Make sure to take breaks
Whether this is making sure you have a lunch break, or taking five minutes to clear your head, breaks are important for work-life balance. Try to make your breaks productive and enriching: use the time to get up and move around if you have been sitting for a long time (see number 4), have a snack, or talk to someone for a few minutes. If possible, avoid things like social media, which are designed to keep you distracted and endlessly scrolling.
4. Make time to exercise
Now that the gyms are closed and we rarely leave the house for anything except the essentials, working from home can promote an unhealthy sitting-exercise balance. Getting up to stretch every half hour, or taking an extended lunch break to get a twenty-minute walk in can be helpful not just for your health, but also for your productivity. Yoga is a particularly good form of exercise as it helps you stretch your body and can also help calm and centre your mind. Check out our Heartfulness Yoga Youtube channel for some great videos.
5. Get outside during daylight
Where you used to have to leave the house to get to work, now you only have to leave your bedroom. It is important to spend some time in daylight if you can, especially in the winter when the daylight hours are scarcer. Studies have shown that getting out in the light in the morning can lead to an improved sleep at night. The best source of Vitamin D is direct sunlight. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium and phosphate, and is crucial for general good health.
6. Think about the people around you
If you live with others, think about how your work habits affect them. Do you have to share office space? Make sure you work out what to do if both of you need to be on the phone. Are others in your house also working? Make sure you share household tasks fairly and don’t leave it up to one person to do everything on top of their work.
It is also important to set boundaries for when you are working and when you are not. If you have small children, for example, letting them know that you cannot be with them during certain hours of the day will help them better understand what is happening, and will also set a routine for them.
7. Change your routine
The human brain stagnates when faced with the same thing day after day. Simple things such as varying your route when you go for a walk, or eating something different for lunch can make a big difference and stop a groundhog-day feeling from permeating your life. If you want to take this a step further, you could also plan a different activity once a week to give yourself something outside of work and outside the norm to look forward to. This might be watching a favourite movie or marathoning a whole trilogy, or trying to make something you would normally buy, like pasta or ice cream – whatever is interesting for you.
8. Know when to stop working
Although it is sometimes tempting to keep working late into the night to finish a project, it is important to set boundaries. This also goes for emails and messages – our phones let us be contactable at any time of the day, and where colleagues before could simply come over to ask us questions directly, now we’re likely to be sent messages. Knowing when to step away from these and clock-out is essential for maintaining a work-life balance.
If you enjoyed these tips and want more like them, check out our stress detox resources.