Many people dream of working from home. Getting up when you want. Checking your emails in bed, while sipping your tea and watching the news. Taking advantage of the downtime by walking the dog or visiting friends. Fitting in those need-to-do chores in between conference calls, so you don’t have to do them on the weekend.
You can do all of this, but first you need to strike a balance between your professional and personal life because they happen in the same place. This can be especially hard during the holidays.
8 Tips to Help You Achieve Work/Life Balance this Season
- Start Scheduling. Grab a calendar and start penciling in your family obligations and activities. Then, build a schedule of when you will work over the holidays. Be realistic about how long each task will take. Give yourself enough time to achieve tasks. Setting your hours will help your family understand when not to disturb you and lets your customers know when you will be available.
- Know When to Stop Working. When your office is at home or nearby, it’s easy to sneak in an extra hour or two to get a project finished or reply to client emails. But, when you’re in family mode, concentrate on that, otherwise you will soon have complaints. Close the door to your office or pack up your desk to avoid the temptation to work.
- Minimize Distractions. When you’re in work mode, focus on that. Minimize distractions, such as going to the kitchen to get something to eat or checking in on the kids. More distractions create longer working days, so focus on the job in hand and then leave your office to join in the fun.
- Don't Eat at Your Desk. When you take a lunch break, leave your office and spend some time with your family. Changing your scenery and physically removing yourself from your work will help to clear your mind, and they will enjoy spending time with you.
- Use Your Office for Business-Related Activities Only. Instead of going to your office to check Facebook, try to Skype a family member, read a book, go somewhere else in your home. Try to keep a mindset that your office is for work and the rest of the house is for your family life.
- Don't Use Other Parts of Your Home for Business. In the same way that you should not use your office for your personal life, don’t use the rest of your house for your business. If you have a favourite place on the sofa where you like to watch movies or read the paper, don’t use it to do work. It’s a place for you to relax and turn off your brain for a while.
- If You Have a Family Business, Avoid Talking About Business After Hours. Mental separation is as important as physical separation. Use your downtime to enjoy being with the ones you love. That disagreement about an order or a sudden thought about arranging a meeting can wait until you are next scheduled to work. Everyone needs a break, make the most of it.
- Make a List of Fun Things You've Always Wanted to Do, and Then Start Doing Them. Maybe you’ve always wanted to see the Bright Lights at Stanley Park, ski Big White, go ice fishing or do the Polar Bear Swim. Look online for activities and upcoming attractions coming up this festive period, and choose the ones that most excite you. The point is to keep your horizons open and not let your work consume your life. It will also mean when you have spare time, you already have events planned, so you can focus on having fun.
This season is a special time of year that gives you the opportunity to spend more time with family and carry out traditions that you will be talking about for years to come. So stay focused, set boundaries and start scheduling, and you will achieve a great work/life balance.