8 Work from Home Habits to Help Separate Work and Personal Time

A woman looking exhausted while working from home at the kitchen table.shurkin_son / Shutterstock

Whether you’re new to working from home or have been doing it for years, you’ve probably noticed that the line between work and play is often blurred. Here’s how to set healthy boundaries, even if your office is in your living room.

Many people think that working from home is a happy, relaxing escape from office life. While remote working definitely has its benefits, it’s also quite common to work a lot more than in the office. Before you know it, you’re checking your work emails long after midnight and tackling projects on your days off.

If work seems to be taking over your life, cultivate these habits to help you regain your freedom!

Wear work clothes

If you work from home, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to put on pants and dress shoes every morning. However, it is helpful to wear different clothes than what you wear to relax.

They can, however, be comfortable. For example, consider changing your pajamas and leggings before you start working out. Then, at the end of the day, you can get back to your pajamas.

Your “work clothes” don’t even look very different, but changing before and after work helps you keep the line between work and downtime.

Have a start and end time

Many remote workers are responsible for starting and ending work. However, this nice flexibility can sometimes cause you to work from time to time all day and night.

Choosing a specific time to start and stop labor will help. If you’re doing your best after 2 p.m., this might be a good time to start. You can even start at different times and on different days. Whichever schedule you choose, specific start and end times create clear boundaries.

Ease of work

When your chosen start time arrives, don’t feel pressured to jump right into the most important tasks of the day. Like an athlete, give yourself some time to warm up before tackling your toughest projects.

For example, consider starting the day with a few relatively easy, but necessary, activities like filling out your timesheet. The success you experience after crossing these simple things off your list will give you momentum for the more difficult things.

Maybe you’d prefer to take a few minutes to get settled in before logging into your work chat app, so you don’t have to start your day bombarded with messages.

When the day is done, you can also end with a few simple tasks to free yourself from work. It will help you move from work to personal time.

Manage your notifications

Business communication apps, like Slack, are wonderful. However, you’re not on time and notifications are still pouring in, it’s hard to forget about work even for a little while.

Fortunately, you can easily modify the parameters on apps like these. Turn off all notifications on weekends, vacations, and holidays, so you won’t be tempted to check messages and get sucked into work again.

Stick to designated workspaces

A young woman typing on her laptop at a desk next to a fluffy orange cat perched on a windowsill.Olesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock

You probably have a specific location in your home that serves as an office, even if it’s not an entire room. Remote workers are often found in bed, at the kitchen table or even on the patio.

It’s actually a good idea to change your workspace sometimes. However, you will be able to create better boundaries if you designate a few specific areas in your home for work.

For example, you can limit yourself to your desk for focused tasks and a comfortable lounge chair for effortless work. It gives you the flexibility to make a difference when you feel like it.

Having designated workspaces will allow you to stop thinking about work when you are away from these areas.

Take breaks

Of course, there may be days when you have to work over lunch, but try not to make it a daily thing.

Take at least half an hour of work each day for lunch, and sprinkle in a few 10- or 15-minute coffee breaks as well. These short but appropriate breaks will help you refresh your concentrationand facilitate the accomplishment of the tasks of the day.

Make post-work plans

Even if you can’t go out and see people in person right now, try planning a virtual 5-7 or family game night soon after your workday is over.

When you have social plans to look forward to, it prompts you to finish your work on time so you can actually relax for the rest of the day.

Buy job-specific supplies

Office supplies that are pleasant to use can be a small but effective way to stay focused. Using job-specific consumables also alerts you that it’s time to go to work and it’s time to relax when you put them away.

Get yourself a cute new planner, a fancy pen, or a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Anything you need or can use in an average working day will do.

Take out your supplies when you start the job, then hide them when you’re done. Your mind will then associate these things with work and help you focus as you start the day. When you put them aside, you also remove your mental connection to work.

When you only associate certain moments, spaces and elements at work, it is much easier to separate your professional and private time. Even if you don’t have a separate room that you can use as a home office, these tips will help you keep boundaries clear and clear.

Are you looking for new inspiring spaces to enjoy while you work from home? Check-out how to set up an outdoor home office!

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