By: Contributing Writer
Since moving from an office environment into a remote workplace, Bloomberg has noted that US workers have logged in an average of an extra 3 hours of work per day. One of the reasons for this is that we are not able to manage the transition between work and home life since on the surface it all looks the same. It absolutely doesn’t have to be this way – and we're here to share tips that worked for us and other highly successful people who have been working from home for 10-20 years.
We all deserve to have a blissful life even with our work (do work that you love!), free from unnecessary stress, toxic work environments, and burnout. If you don’t yet believe this, please take a moment to re-read this statement and consider letting this idea in.
Here are 5 ways to successfully transition from work life to home life when working remotely so that you can enjoy your life and work smarter:
When working remotely, it can be tough for some to separate work life from home life when there is no physical barrier or change of scenery. Why not create your own physical barrier?
When you would normally go home, schedule a consistent activity that will serve as a transition point from work to home life. Plan an activity that you can look forward to as a reward. This may be a workout. Or reading a book. Or prayer and meditation. Or cooking. Or family time. We are so blessed at this time to use the commute time we normally would have to do this activity we love that will serve as our transition from work to home.
The only rule is that it can’t be related to work because the idea is to create time for your brain to rest so that you can bring other ideas and talents from your personal life into your work. The easiest way to stay mediocre is to not infuse your work with other things you have learned in your life.
If you can’t determine the time you’d normally go home and stick to it, then take an average time of the last 10 days you went home when you were at the office, and schedule that time on your calendar. For example: From 6-630PM, your calendar says WORKOUT (or whatever activity you chose). From 530PM on, start to wrap up.
When you’ve decided the time you would normally head home, act like you are really going home: close down the laptop, turn off notifications, put the phone away. In the same way you had a ritual to close up shop when at the office, you need a ritual to do so at home. And the good news is, at home, you’re free to make that ritual whatever you like.
Obviously, some jobs will require more urgent interaction than others. Only you know what’s right for you. You’re an adult and can decide how much you are required to be connected. However, what I do know is that human beings are not robots, and unlike robots, we do need downtime. Having at least 2-3 hours of rest and time with your family for the day is not too much to ask.
Being “on” all the time will lead to mistakes, bad temper, and bad decisions. And it’s not the best way to serve your clients. Before you can put your clients first, you need to put YOURSELF first.
You are NOT going to do a great job if you are burned out from work. The brain needs rest so that it can make the subconscious connections to come up with innovative responses that push you ahead of the curve, and you’re not going to get those epiphanies if you’re answering emails at midnight. Not to mention a multitude of illnesses and diseases exacerbated and caused by stress.
How you manage your time is in your control. So decide on a time to quit, develop a definite ritual to close up shop, and follow through with your word.
Throughout your day, you need to make sure you get some sun if you can. In the course of a 10-hour workday, you will have time to take a break. Use this time to go on the balcony or porch, take a walk, or open a window. The idea is to literally break away from the workspace into a different “world” to make you understand that work is in one place, and your personal time is another place. It’s yet another physical boundary to provide you certainty of the difference between your work life at home, and your home life at home.
The act of going out in the sun immediately changes your physiology, and your physiology leads how you feel and how you manage yourself. Human beings and nature are made to live together in harmony. In getting back to the root of nature, you find harmony within. It gives a chance for your heart and head to become aligned once again, which leads to true, authentic, and right decisions.
The human body also needs sun to process the vitamin D it needs to absorb calcium in the body, an important nutrient to survive. If there is sun outside, there’s no excuse not to take a 10-minute break to experience it. Try to make it at least once a day to get some sun.
As you shut down for the day, first pause and go over all the things you’ve accomplished for that day. Mentally or physically list everything, big and small. A large part of disengagement results from not acknowledging all the good you’ve done. This short exercise also signals to your brain that’s it’s time to wrap up and it makes the connections on all that you have done during the day in order to get ready to define the 2 big outcomes.
The Pareto Principle manages to infuse itself in almost all of life – 80% of the result can be attributed to 20% of the effort. What 20% can you do tomorrow to get 80% of the results you want? Narrow that down into 2 specific outcomes you must achieve in your day tomorrow and write them down.
When you have written down these 2 things, you will have prepared yourself and assured yourself of making significant progress. And by acknowledging your successes for the day, you add to your self-confidence and subconsciously present yourself with how what you do contributes to the big picture, which is something that everyone needs to have satisfaction in their work. These actions should also signal your brain to solidify the transition guilt-free to your home life.
Perhaps the greatest secret to transitioning from work to home life when working at home is doing each thing with complete presence. That means NO MULTITASKING. The reason we have so much trouble with the transition is that we are not 100% present with our home life – we multitask on everything, and it’s now spilling into our home life.
The most significant and impactful work comes when one is in what psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi calls a “Flow” state, a high energy focused state that occurs when one is 100% immersed in what they are doing.
A large part of the distractions of the day and why work takes so long to accomplish is the distractions we have from emails, phone calls and chats which disrupt the flow state of our work. Unfortunately, this has become seen as the norm. But in working remotely, you are blessed in that you can eliminate many of the distractions and interruptions that naturally occur at the office.
It’s even more important now to be present when you are working, and even more present when you are at home. When you have shut down completely for the day, you are free to experience 100% presence with yourself in meditation, with your family, and with your creative pursuits. This situation is a GIFT – a gift for you to see what you have always missed while you were working after hours. Experience all of life to the fullest, and bring even more of yourself into your work.
As much as does not seem like it for some – the collision of home workspace and home life resulting in overwork and blurred work-life balance is a GIFT. Please don’t miss the gift.
This is the gift the situation is giving you:
In times of radical change, there is always a gift. Who is this challenge calling you to be? What have you learned about yourself and how you handle situations? What have you discovered is most important to you?
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