Whether you usually work from home or are new to it, or are a stay-at-home parent challenged with homeschooling your child for the first time — finding the right home-work-parenting balance can be difficult. While there’s no perfect recipe for how to balance it all (if you’ve found it then by all means TELL US), there are some steps everyone can take to help ease the transition and improve their situation at home. Read on to learn how this Wishlisted writer is coping, adjusting and making my new life at home just a bit easier. Keep in mind, I’m writing this as a someone in her mid-20’s, engaged, with three fur-babies, and is newly transitioning from working in an office to working from home.
Stick to a Routine
It’s no surprise that sticking with a daily routine will help bring stability to everyday life, and helps you compartmentalize everything that needs to be done.. While planning out every hour is a bit unrealistic, here are three things this writer tries her best to stick with every day.
- Exercise – Now I’m not going to lie, when I say “exercise” it doesn’t have to be an hour long sweat fest. It can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk or a quick bike ride around the neighborhood. Whatever gets your body moving and blood pumping, try to carve out at least 20 minutes a day.
- Distinguishing work time & home time – When a home doubles as an office, it can be difficult to separate the two. I do my best to set a strict morning work time frame (typically 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.) and force myself to shut everything down for an hour to eat lunch (more on that next) and then tie up any daily loose ends to complete my work day by 5 p.m.
- Eat three meals a day – Not only is eating three meals a day important for your health, I’ve found it really helps to break a day up. Breakfast is when my fiance and I talk about the day ahead, and it really sets the tone for the day. Lunch is when I get to log-off mentally from work for a short time and refresh my creative juices. Dinner is when I realize the day is done and it’s time to start winding down.
Practice Self Care
The term “self care” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. My favorite definition is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness.” That can mean taking a moment to write in a journal, spending time with loved ones or my favorite, enjoying a nice glass of wine. If you’re still scratching your head for some self care practices, check out three of my go-to’s:
- Focus on what you can control – I’m the first to admit that I’m a bit of a control freak. While not sweating the small stuff is easier said than done, the bottom line is you can only control what you can control. What I have found as a good practice when feeling overwhelmed is jotting down a few things that are upsetting me and what I can do to change it. Focus on what I can control and block out what I can’t.
- Create an at-home spa – Two words…face mask! OK, OK — there are plenty more products to help transform your bedroom into your favorite luxe spa. I like to keep a “spa kit” if you will, fully stocked and ready whenever the moment presents itself. Some other necessities I love are bath bombs, candles and of course a bottle of wine (or two).
- Unplug from social media and news – I, like most millennials, have a habit of scrolling through social media like it’s a never ending waterfall of content. Heck, it’s my job to be that person posting content on social media (sorry, not sorry). Not only does the constant intake of information cause stress, but you’re paying more attention to your phone, tablet or TV than the loved ones you have around you!
Working From Home
For some, working from home is easy while others may find it more challenging. Home has distractions like animals (or kids), significant others and if you’re like me, a pile of laundry that needs to be washed. As someone who is newly navigating working from home full time, I’ve found a few things that have helped ease the transition.
- Establish a work space – It could be an entire room that you have as an office or you can be like me and have a cozy little nook where all the professional magic happens. Regardless of the size of space, it’s important to have a specific area you can go where you know “this is where I work.” Even if it’s just a table, chair and laptop, a little structure can go a long way.
- Write a to-do list – I. Love. Lists. I have found it is extremely helpful to not only write down everything you need to accomplish for a day, week or month, but also order it in a way where you have a bunch of small victories you can check off in between all those larger more thought-intensive tasks. (Ms. Pam Beesly really knew what she was talking about when recommending we start with the easiest tasks first — and there’s my daily reference to The Office, you’re welcome)
- “Turn off” from work at the end of the day – I’ll admit I’m not always the best at this. There are plenty of times I’m on my phone scrolling Facebook (yes, I know what I said earlier) and end up opening Slack and taking a peek to see if someone has made any after-hours discoveries. I know disconnecting from work is tough when your laptop is just a wall away, but almost everything you’d do at 8 p.m. can wait until 8 a.m. when you’re back in work mode!