The pandemic has made remote work the norm. And if it were under normal circumstances this would be a celebrated fact. It should mean greater productivity and more free time for workers. 95% of companies get higher employee retention rates and people often report better mental health.
However, in spite of the benefits, many people are struggling because the current situation is uncharted. We’re uncertain about the future and routines have changed.
The biggest problem that has arisen is the inability to separate personal life from the work ones.
Here’s a helpful way to break down your work life from your home life.
Set a routine for work and personal life
Working from home has long been considered the dream situation for many people. But in reality, this creates havoc for people who aren’t used to it.
The main reasons is that when people went to a separate location for work, it created a routine. Also, your physical environment also impacts your state of mind. We associate specific locations with specific activities.
If we practice sleep hygiene, then our bodies enter the mode needed to sleep when we go to bed. Or if we’re sitting in the front of the TV, then we’re automatically reaching for a remote and our minds seeks entertainment and stimulation.
So, separating your work and home life is possible only by creating fixed routines. Schedule all your activities and stick to it. Here are things you’ll want to do in a fixed manner every day:
- Wake up at a specific time and carry out your ‘getting ready’ routine
- Make and eat breakfast
- Start work
- Create breaks
- Set a clear end-time
- Create routines for socialization, personal projects and more
- Arrange weekends for meal prepping, laundry and other maintenance tasks
Although routines seem rigid and appear to take the fun away from remote work, the truth is that they’re liberating. When you do things according to a routine, you work on time and create free time for other things that matter to you.
Set boundaries at work
The next reason why personal and work boundaries are no longer clear is because of the economic impact of the current pandemic.
Many people are fearful of losing their jobs. This has led to people taking on more than they should and committing to work that bleeds into their personal time. And in some cases, there are leaders taking advantage of the situation and putting pressure on people.
It’s important to be aware if it’s your personal fear speaking or real pressure from work. In either case, it’s important to avoid burnout by clearly scheduling your work and assigning time for the work you’re doing.
Support your boundary setting by referring to your schedule and do feel confident that you’re entitled to rest even if you’re working from home. While sitting at an office desk is not mentally demanding, your brain’s energy consumption forms 20% of the entire energy your body uses.
Your mental exhaustion is real and valid, and you’ll be more productive if you have balanced work life.
Use time blocking
To reinforce the previous points, it’s helpful to use a practical technique like time blocking. This is better than a simple to-do list or a vague outline in your mind, because it doesn’t just organize tasks, it also assigns specific time blocks to do things.
The beauty of this method is that you’re highly focused on a specific task at a time but can also spread it out throughout the week. With time blocking, you can also make time for personal goals and tasks such as spending time with family or working on a personal hobby.
When you live by a structured and meaningful routine, you’ll feel mentally free and productive.
Remote work is finally the norm in the world today. However, one of the side effects of this is that we’re struggling to create a separation between personal life and work life.
In this post, we’ve covered a few reasons why this is the case and how to address it. By making small changes and following a routine for the new normal, you’ll feel peace of mind and settle into remote working with greater ease.