If you work from home, you might think you’ve scored the ultimate dream. It’s true that working from home has a lot of advantages. Still, you need to set boundaries if you want to have a successful work/life balance.
Whether you’re a full-time content creator or you have your own startup, working from home is harder than it looks. While avoiding entrepreneur procrastination and burnout are a must, it’s not always that simple if you’re spending all of your time at home.
While 99% percent of remote workers would like to continue working remotely, it’s important to set boundaries if you want to stay fresh and productive. In this guide, we’ll explore the best way to create boundaries that don’t hold you back, rather, they push you forward.
Set Clear Hours for Working
The best way to set boundaries when working from home is to have clear working hours. It’s easy to work way past the 9-5 barrier if you’re running your own business, but this mindset can actually leaving you doing less rather than more.
It doesn’t matter what time you’re most productive, but you need to have set hours for working and set hours for relaxing. It’s okay if you take a 3-hour mid-day break, just be strict with your hours.
If you fail to set clear hours for working, your working life bleeds into your personal life. This is a one-way ticket to burnout, and it’s not a fun time. If you work as part of a team, set clear hours that you can stick to. If you run your own business, consider your best working hours and put them on your calendar.
Actually Take a Lunch Break
If you work in a traditional office, you might have skipped your lunch break a few times. This can be okay in a traditional office where you clock in and out. In a work from home setting, a lunch (or mid-day) break is essential.
Without seeing other coworkers get up for a meal, you might actually forget to eat altogether. While it’s great to get hyper-focused on tasks that matter, you also need to take care of yourself.
Schedule your lunch break into your day, and make sure you set your status to “away” or “busy” so you’re not bothered. When you jump back into your day’s tasked, you’ll feel more refreshed.
Value Your Days Off
Here’s a secret: your days off matter just as much as your days on the clock. When you take time off, you give your mind the rest it needs to recover from the stress of running a business, creating, and staying “on.”
If your home is also your office, it’s easy to use weekend or vacation time to handle “just one small thing” every once in a while. That small thing could turn into a half-day work session, but either way it ruins your work/life balance.
Have at least one day a week where you completely unplug. Say no to phone calls, don’t check your email, and steer clear of your home office.
Create Work Rituals
If you visit a traditonal office, you likely have workplace rituals. This is a big part of setting boundaries, and you can recreate this feeling at home. For example, you might grab a mug of coffee at the breakroom or you might have a certain light you turn on in your cubicle.
At home, you can still have a work ritual. You might brew a pot of coffee, turn on your favorite morning playlist, or wear “work” shoes. This should be something specific to working, not your home life.
Make a Mini-Commute
Last but not least, it might help you set boundaries if you create a “mini-commute” for yourself. While you likely don’t miss sitting in traffic, working from home lacks those same daily transitions.
Instead, fake a commute by doing something between “home” and “work” life. You might go on a short 5-minute walk before you start your day and again after you’ve clocked out. You might play with your pet, talk to a family member, or do anything that breaks up your routine to signal it’s time to start working or unwind.
Optimize Your Time
If you want to make the most of your time when working from home, you need to set boundaries. While they might sound unnecessary at first, they make all the difference when it comes to protecting your work/life balance.
Everyone, no matter their job, needs to put their time first. If you’re losing valuable relaxation time worrying about your emails or struggling to get work done, it’s time to rethink your boundaries.