You hear it all the time. You need to find a work-life balance or “leave work at work.” But with more people working from home, where exactly are you supposed to leave work?
I found that to be a challenge at first. At quitting time, I would step away from my computer, but work would still follow me. I would think about what articles I needed to write for the next day, delegate priorities between clients, and somehow find time for myself. These five practices helped me leave work at the office, even though that office was down the hall from my bedroom.
Have an office, even if you don’t have the room
Not everyone has a room that they can call an office. But you should find a spot in your house where you commute to every day for work. Pick this spot based on how often you use it. For example, don’t make your bedroom your office. This will make it tough to shut off the mind at night. Your office may end up being your dining room table. Even though you visit it every day for personal use, pack your computer and paperwork away each night before you use your dining room table, as a dining room table.
Virtually organize yourself
Organizational computer apps are one way to help maintain a healthy work-life balance. Trello is an example of an easy to use app that is a great way to organize yourself. You create lists and add cards to each of those lists. I use this with both clients and for personal use. Every morning I take a look at my list and organize the cards based on their priority. If something doesn’t get done that day, I look at what I have on deck for the rest of the week and organize my lists based on that.
Establish a routine
Even though being a freelancer gives you the freedom to come and go as you please, you still need to stick to a routine. Face it, if you get into the routine of slacking off all the time, you’ll go broke real quick. Instead, keep the 9-to-5 mentality. Get up and go to work just like you would with any job. Take an hour for lunch and give yourself a weekend, even if that means during the week instead of Saturday and Sunday.
Skipping out on exercise isn’t okay in the corporate world, and it is the same in the freelance world. Exercising gets you out of the house and gives you some time off to relax. Cardio workouts refresh the blood and keeps your mind clear. Also, exercise helps you to stay focused on expanding your career.
Hmm… talking to my dog and cat all day isn’t exactly ideal.
Working from home can get lonely. Instead of becoming a recluse, join a meetup to learn something new or go to networking events. I joined a writer’s group that has done two things; First, I get out of the house! Once a week my writers’ group meets, and each time I go, I learn something new. Second, it has been a great place to network with others in the community.
Remote work doesn’t have to be lonely. I enjoy maintaining a strong communicative relationship with each of my clients. There are lots of team collaboration apps and communication channels that I’m familiar with. If you’d like to know more about my work ethics and practices, send me an email at email@example.com. Talk soon!