Work-life balance is tricky enough as it is, and with many of us making the transition to working from home, it may seem nearly impossible. Working from home has its perks (flexible hours, constant access to your pantry, the new uniform of sweatpants and a messy bun…), but like every good thing, it also has some downsides.

If you’re working non-traditional hours, you might feel pressure to spend more time online and working than you otherwise would in the office. And without coworkers around to remind you to take breaks, eat lunch and leave the office for the day, you might fall into the habit of working additional hours and not having as much free time as you otherwise would.

Work-life balance is important for your emotional and mental health. Setting boundaries and learning to separate work from your personal life will increase productivity and boost your mood.

How to balance work and life

Create a designated work space

Working from you laptop while lounging in bed or on the couch may seem like an appealing idea, but this actually makes it harder to relax when you’re off the clock. You begin to associate that area with work, which means if you work from bed all day long, it’s going to be difficult for your brain to switch from work mode to relaxation mode.

Find a space to be your designated “office.” Maybe it’s your desk or dining room table, or the bar in the kitchen. When you find this space, make sure you’re treating it the same you would your typical office. Try and act as if you’ve actually left the house.

Use personal activities to take breaks

One of the perks of working remotely is greater productivity—even during your breaks. You can use personal errands to break up your day when you need to take a couple of minutes away from your desk or computer. That way, your breaks are still productive and help you get personal tasks done so you can spend your time offline doing something you genuinely enjoy.

When you’re getting burnt or overwhelmed, take a few minutes to do the dishes, start a load of laundry or make your grocery list.

Make plans for your after-work hours

If your living space and your workspace are the same place, it can feel hard to truly step away from work at the end of the day, even if you’ve closed your laptop and signed off. Sometimes it can feel like there isn’t a reason to log off at a certain time if you’re already working from the home office.

Try making plans to do something you enjoy after your work day is over. This will not only give you something to look forward to, but will also prevent you from working overtime simply because you can.

Set a schedule—and stick to it

When you have the flexibility to work from anywhere, you start to feel like you need to be available anytime, too. If you struggle to sign off for the day when you’re technically supposed to, you’re in good company. Setting a schedule will be helpful for your coworkers and your work-life balance. Your team will know exactly when they can reach you, and you’ll be able to plan personal activities during your day outside of work, wake up and go to bed at the same time every day and work a manageable number of hours.

We’re all facing changes and adjustments during this time. It’s okay if you’re struggling because we’re all struggling. Nothing could have prepared us for the many ways our lives have been altered in this. The most important thing is to give yourself grace for not having it all together. Focus on surviving, tackling one thing at a time and celebrating your accomplishments, no matter how small.

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