We all know how difficult it can be to leave work behind when you head home for the day. But what happens when you work from home? How do you switch off from a day’s work when your environment doesn’t change? The good news is where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are five strategies to help you switch off after a day at the (home) office.
1. Create a working space at home
The first thing you need to do is create a place at home where you do your work – preferably not your couch or your bed. Even if you don’t have space for a home office, you need to create an area that is purely for work purposes. Even a small desk in the corner of the lounge room will do. Your mind will begin to associate that area with work, so when you move to the couch you will be able to switch off more easily. Even when working from home, it helps to keep the lines of work and home separate.
2. Set official work hours
While working from home may mean a sleep-in here or there, it will help your productivity if you actually set rigid work hours. Not only will it increase your motivation, it will also help you switch off at the end of the day. If there is an actual time when your work day finishes, it can help you mentally move into the next phase of your day. If you’re constantly checking your emails at all hours, you never quite get to rest even when you’re not on the clock.
3. Create your own boundaries
Even those who work from home need to take breaks. To help switch off from work and relax, you may need to set your own boundaries. Take practical steps, such as logging out of your email at a certain time of the day or turning off push notifications. Give yourself time in the morning to prepare breakfast, do a workout or run a few errands before your official workday begins. You can let your clients know that after a certain time in the day you are unreachable.
4. Take a break
Often the perception of working from home comes with visions of sleep-ins, daytime television and afternoon naps, but it’s often far from the truth. Many entrepreneurs and small business owners end up working longer hours with the inability to switch off. Be firm about creating structure around your work day. Take regular breaks at the same time everyday and finish your work day at the same time, wherever possible. This form of routine will help your mind move quickly from work to play.
5. Learn how to relax
Sometimes the best way to switch off from the stress of work is to relax your mind and body. This will look different for everyone. Perhaps a long walk after a day at home will let you clear your head and leave the work day behind. Or maybe you’d prefer to get wrapped up in your favourite novel or television series. It may be important for you to get out of the house to relax, so enjoying dinner out with friends or family is a priority. However you relax, find out what those activities are and plan more of them into your day-to-day schedule.
by Jessica Holmes