It’s certainly not the first time you’ve heard the phrase “work-life balance,” and it likely won’t be the last. Though this topic has been covered time and time again, creating the perfect balance has become more complex as remote and hybrid work grows in popularity. What’s the best way to truly unplug from your work and enjoy life when you’re working from home? How much free time do you really need? Keep reading to get the answers!
Focus On Consistency, Not Just Quantity
A new article from The Science of Wellbeing by Dr. Laurie Santos suggests that we don’t need as much free time as we think to attain that perfect balance between life and work — but we do need to be consistent about carving out that free time every day.
We’ve all been guilty of waiting for the weekend to roll around or counting away the days until our next vacation, but this isn’t necessarily the healthiest way to approach the work-life balance. According to a recent time-use study conducted by Marissa Sharif, Cassie Mogilner Holmes, and Hal Hershfield, the optimal amount of daily free time is between two and five hours.
This number might seem too low to some and too high to others, but the trick is to stay somewhere within this range daily. Getting this personal time in every day helps prevent work-related burnout and allows us to maintain a functional life outside of work.
How to Create a Work-Life Balance at Home
If you’re a remote or hybrid worker, there’s no commute or physical change to separate your work hours from your personal hours. Many people that work from home find themselves working through lunch and going through their email at all hours of the day and night. Here are a few tips that can help you actually leave your work behind when you sign off.
Have Designated “Relax Locations”
One of the perks of working from home is being able to move your setup when you want a change of scenery. If you have a work laptop, you can work from just about anywhere in your home. Unfortunately, this can also be detrimental to your personal time in the long run.
Consider creating some spots in your home that are 100% off-limits during your workday so that you can retreat to the no-work zones after signing off to spend time with family, read, craft, or whatever your heart desires.
Change Your Notification Settings
Creating boundaries is crucial if you want to strike a satisfactory work-life balance. One way to enforce your work boundaries is by muting the notifications from your work email, calendars, messaging platforms like Slack, etc., during certain hours.
For those of you that absolutely need to be reachable at all times, consider going over a game plan with team members so they know how to reach you if something can’t wait until the next morning. Of course, the hardest part comes next: don’t check your work platforms! In almost all cases, a message can wait until working hours.
We don’t need to quit our jobs to reconnect with ourselves, but many of us may have to change our priorities. For the busy professionals out there that are also partners and parents, even small changes can make a difference. For example, instead of checking work emails at the breakfast table, make it a no-technology zone where you can focus on your loved ones, read a book, or do a crossword puzzle.
Good luck finding your special brand of work-life balance!