Commuting to the office is a drag, and people who do it every day envy people who get to work at home. They don’t suffer from the hassle and cost of a commute. They don’t have to cope with a co-workers annoying habit of singing randomly and they don’t even need to get out of their pajamas if they don’t want to.
But working from home is not all chilling out in your pajamas and sleeping in late. The common trap that many of these people fall into is the inability to stop working. It’s hard to transition from work when you work from home. Often professionals who work from home will find that they are still working and it’s already midnight. Having a good work/life balance is crucial for everyone and when the lines are blurred between them, things can become ‘caddywhompus’.
Fortunately, work-from-homers can take steps to improve their work/life balance and retain their sanity.
- Set up a time for your “close of business”: And stick to it. Whether its 5 p.m. or 8 p.m. you should resolve to shut off your computer and close your office door for the night. Resist the temptation to write one more paragraph or make yet another sales call. Also, make sure that your workday is a normal 8 or 9-hour day.
- Do something for yourself: After you shut off your computer for the day, make sure you do something for yourself. This helps your mind transition between work and your personal life. It doesn’t have to be something grand. It can be watching your favorite TV show, or working out. Make absolutely certain you do something so you “reset” your day.
- Leave the house: It’s easy as a work-from-homer to spend all of your time at home. You look up, see it’s the end of the week, and find that the only time you left your house was to drive to the grocery store when you ran out of cereal. Don’t become a work-from-home shut-in. It’s simply not healthy.
Overwork leads to stress. Whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field, the key to retaining your sanity is to reserve non-work time for yourself. But what if you can’t force yourself to shut off the workday? Then it might be time to consider returning to the office, where there’s always someone around to shut off the lights and chase you out of your cubicle.