Working from home brings freedom and flexibility however gone is the structure and routine of an office environment - so how do you make sure you find the right balance?
For many Virtual assistants or others who work from home finding the right balance is crucial to running a successful business and also providing quality support to clients. For me there were a number of key elements to working from home and maintaining balance:
Schedule your work time
The reality is that working from home does provide a significant degree of flexibility but it is work and it needs to be treated as such, now that doesn't mean you can't have some flexibility around when you work, where you work or how you work but I have found you do need to have some rules about when you are working and when you are not. That means you need to set your hours of work and during that time stick to it - being clear about when you are available to catch up with a friend for coffee and when you are not. Consider setting an alarm or a schedule for times when you are at work and times when you are off - and stick to it that means no checking emails from your phone outside of your work times!
2. Set a finish time
One of the easiest traps is to keep working all night, or at least well into the evening because you are home and its convenient. Working from home = no commute but on the flip side it also means you don't have the physical signal of packing up the desk, switching off and leaving the office physically for the day. So you will need to create your own way of signaling work is finished. Set an alarm on your phone when you plan to finish for the day and then do something to signal your end of work day. Perhaps that it putting your laptop in another room, closing your home office door or leaving the house and going for a walk. Whatever it is you need a cue that lets your body and mind know that work is finished.
3. Schedule Breaks
Too often when working from home you can sit down and start working and then before you know it it's 2pm and you haven't left the desk. Just because we are working from home, we still need to look after our bodies - that means taking some breaks including a lunch break - take advantage of going for a walk around the block, sit out in the sun, or do a quick yoga/stretch workout.
For me this one is HUGE it has such benefits for both mental and physical health. We all know the research around about the negative impacts sitting for long periods can have on our bodies so GET MOVING. For me this has been about making sure I exercise most days before I work, taking a walk around the block on my lunch break, or playing with the kids in the park after school. It also is important to take regular breaks across the day stand up and do some stretches, use a stand up desk when you can - take the phone call whilst walking around the house!
5. Eat Well
Again working from home has benefits of not having to pack lunch but it also means you can simply head over to the pantry and grab a snack whenever you like. Health eating is really important so why not consider meal planning for the week - perhaps prepare your lunch the night before, or have some healthy snacks in the fridge that you can easily grab out rather than going for the packet of biscuits at the back of the pantry!
6. Do something you enjoy
It's important to have time in the work week where you completely switch off from work mode and do something you enjoy - craft, sport, reading a good book whatever works for you.
Working from home gives so much flexibility to our lives and enables us to create our own balance and routine, but it's important we take time to think about what this would look like and put in place strategies to make it happen!