Working from home: 5 easy ways to help balance your work and home life
Still Zoom-ing away there, mums?
I know the feeling.
We have all got more or less used to this new 'normal' by now, and by the looks of it, for the majority of us, there is little end in sight to the working from home situation anytime soon.
For the most part, I have managed to fall into a somewhat manageable routine when it comes to my work-from-home life. This, no doubt, was made a whole lot easier when the school year ended, and I no longer had to worry about 4th class maths, SeeSaw passwords and sheet after sheet of senior infant word searches.
However, seeing as I am now fairly certain I will be working from home for a good while still, I am keen to make my routine and word-day as efficient as possible. One thing I could definitively do with, as I am sure most of us feel, is more time. Like; an extra hour or two in my day would really help me feel like I was more on top of things.
Which is why I have recently set out trying to carve out some extra time in my day, simply by reorganising how I spent my days, and trying to build some better habits.
Here are five tricks that have really made a difference to my day:
1. Wake up a little earlier
Yes, I know this is a tricky one, but honestly, I have found that having that little bit of extra time in the morning has made all the difference to how my entire day pans out. By setting my alarm clock to 45 minutes earlier than what I would have normally been getting up, I now find I have some time just for me in the morning, and it really sets me up for the day. I body brush, have a shower, drink some hot lemon water, then meditate or do a 20-minute yoga flow before waking my children up, and getting started on the rest of my day.
By having this time in the morning, I feel like I am not starting my day off playing catch-up, but instead, feel calm and ready to sit down and do work once I have breakfast over with and the kids dressed and fed.
2. Plan my week in advance
Instead of starting Mondays out feeling a little stressed about everything I need to get done this week, I now take 20 minutes on a Sunday afternoon or evening, and sit down with my notebook or calendar and plan out the week ahead.
I plot in everything to do with work, from e-mails that have to be replied to, to Zoom meetings or deadlines coming up. I also jot down other things that are happening all week, from playdates for the children, to soccer practice, meals out or even yoga classes I am attending myself. This way, I feel like I am in control of the week ahead, and it makes it all the easier to get stuck in Monday morning.
Having everything planned out means I am also far less likely to forget something or get stressed out over upcoming things.
I then go through my list and check to see if there are any tasks that are more important than others, meaning they need to be pushed up the top of the list, while others might be dropped further down, in order of importance. This ensures that I am always starting out each with getting the most pressing things out of the way, before moving on to other, not as important tasks.
To me, this makes me feel more in control, as I am never worried about those super-important things, knowing I have dealt with them first.
4. Check my emails at designated times each day
I discovered this the hard way, but trust me, you'll save a tremendous amount of time if you commit to just checking your email four times a day, or even just every two hours instead of every 15 minutes. Ask yourself this question: How often do I really need to check and respond to email?
5. Cut down on unnecessary social media time
It is like an addiction – the quick scroll to see who has posted a story recently on Instagram... Find out the latest news update over on Facebook... Or just simply pin some gorgeous images of bedroom decor and kitchen ideas over on Pinterest.
The thing is, our collective social media habits are doing little but eat away at our time, stealing hours every day where we could have been doing other, clearly more important things. I found out that the best way for me to curb my mindless 'just checking' habit was to set aside designated times in my day for checking social media, and sticking to these. I would leave my phone just far enough from where I am sitting when I work (my dining table, obvs) so that I can still hear it if it rings, but yet it's too far out of reach for me to get tempted into a little scroll here and there.