If you're feeling like it’s getting increasingly difficult to transition from work hours to off hours, you're not alone. Working from home has lots of benefits, but the inevitable downside is that you never truly feel like you’ve left the office (because you haven’t). With remote work likely here to stay (or at least here for the foreseeable future), it’s important we all try to find a way to set boundaries between our work and personal life. This may look different for everyone, but we’ve put together some tips to help you get to a healthier headspace for working at home in the long term.
1. Have a designated work space.
Pick a room or an area to be your dedicated space for work. When the end of your work day rolls around, close your laptop and physically leave the space. Whether you’re done working for the night or not, take a break. You deserve it and your brain needs it. And as tempting as it may be, don’t work from your bed!
2. Pause work-related notifications.
Don’t let work-related notifications pull you away from personal time. Log out of your work email apps or at least turn off notifications at the end of the day. If you want to take it one step further, you can even delete your work-related apps ahead of the weekend and re-download it on Monday morning. This will help you enjoy your weekends without distractions. It might sound like a hassle, but it doesn't take long to download your apps back onto your phone. You’ll be thankful when you realize you’re at peace and fully enjoying your time off.
3. Enjoy your lunch break.
It’s scientifically proven that giving your brain some time to rest and taking time away from your work is more productive in the long run. While it may be tempting to eat your lunch at your desk, working straight through your work day with no breaks won’t get your work done any faster, and you’ll feel burnt out much quicker. Go for a walk, make a meal, listen to a podcast, or do something that relaxes you on your lunch break.
4. Set frequent reminders to take a break.
Your job may not allow you to step away for too long, but there are still ways you can give yourself a break during the day. Set reminders on your phone to take 5-10 minute mental breaks every hour. Taking a few minutes to stand up and stretch or get a glass of water will refresh you and make you more efficient when you do get back to it.
5. Make social commitments during non-work hours.
Sometimes, the only way to pull yourself away from work is another (non-work related) commitment. If you find yourself struggling to close your laptop, schedule Zoom calls with friends, outdoor walks, or Clubhouse dates. Making a plan with a friend or loved one will keep you accountable.