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Working for yourself and working from home can bring with it so many benefits. The flexibility of the work can be a big pull, because as long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter where or when the work is getting done. But because you are never too far from your computer, it can be hard to switch off; there can always be the temptation to have a look at your phone to make a few calls or a look at your emails. Differentiating between home and work can be difficult, but it needs to be achieved if you are going to achieve a greater life balance as the year goes on.
Here are some of the ways that you can get a better work and life balance, but still be able to get the work done that you need to.
Have a Separate Space
When your working space is somewhere like the dining table, which is very much a part of the home and family life, it can make it hard to switch off as it makes it hard to think that you’re either at home or down to do some work. Which is why having a separate space is really important. The space could be a spare room, bedroom or office, so when you close the door, you know that work is over. You could even look into a company that does metal home kits to create something like a garage for you that could be converted into an office, as not everyone will have spare space indoors. The space will help you to get into work mode or get into home mode, which is something that does happen when you work in a regular office.
Flexibility has been talked about as one of the benefits of working for yourself. But even so, being able to schedule your time is important. Decide what you are doing and when, and then stick to it. If you have an hour a day for emails, then that is all that you have; the rest can wait. If you get into the habit of going back to check your emails all of the time, then it doesn’t help you to achieve the balance that you are looking for, and you’ll keep wanting to check them. So plan your time, otherwise it will plan you.
Make sure you incorporate physical activity into your day
One of the problems with working from home is that you miss out on a lot of the physical activity that would do if you were to work in the office. It is the small things – the commute to work, the walking up the stairs, the to and from to the coffee machine/water cooler/printer, the quick trip to the coffee shop at lunchtime, and so on. When all you have to do is roll out of bed into your home office, it can be very easy to miss those moments of physical activity. Make sure that you do incorporate some activity into your day; a jog around the block in the morning, a walk around the park at lunchtime, a session with a golf instructor that you have found on Grumpy Gopher. All of these will break your day up, give you a chance to leave your desk and get some much-needed exercise.
Technology is a modern blessing that makes being able to work from home possible. But having times where the whole family (or just you if that is the setup), bans tech for a couple of hours, can help you to have some screen-free quality time, whether it is playing a game, cooking a meal, reading a book, or being able to switch off for a nap. All can help you to achieve a greater work and life balance.
The key is to really plan your time if you want to be able to enjoy being at home and feel like you aren’t constantly working. Then comes the time that you have to stick at it. It takes time, but it can be really worth it.