One of the best attributes of remote working is flexibility, both for location and working hours. More than ever, remote workers are able to mold their careers to their personal lives instead of the other way around.
But sometimes, flexibility can feel more like a curse than a blessing. It is easy to feel extra pressure to be online 24/7 and answer every ping. As a result, many remote workers end up burnout as they struggle to balance their personal and professional responsibilities.
Is it even possible to stop working when you’re in the comfort of your home with plenty of technology for coworkers to contact you? It should be. In this short guide, you’ll find some easy-to-implement tips that might help you on the journey towards a more balanced work-life.
The path to a balanced remote work-life
When working remotely, you lose the space and time differentiators that separate office time from home time. You don’t have to hurry to get ready or may choose not to get ready at all. Maybe you don’t even have a specific time to start working, and sometimes you only manage to get productive at 6 pm.
The truth is remote working can get messy. The freedom of choosing your timing and location can actually make you feel lost, not knowing how to manage your tasks and schedule. That’s why you should create your balanced remote work routine.
According to the Mayo Clinic, overworking and neglecting time for rest, leisure, and social activities can be the pitfall for anxiety, chronic tiredness, and overall burnout. Work-life balance comes into play to ease or even eliminate such symptoms, as it is all about distributing your time smartly between your professional and personal tasks and needs. In the end, you’ll be able to tackle everything at a sensible pace.
However, it is vital not to transform the idea of balance into yet another self demand or pressure point. You don’t have to schedule every minute of your day if that doesn’t make sense for you. The key is to take advantage of the flexibility and autonomy provided by remote work to structure your workday so you can be more productive while enjoying other aspects of your life.
Remote work-life balance must be pictured as a cycle rather than an achievement. As your life evolves and changes, so will your priorities and routine. Understanding the principles of balance will help you adapt your schedule continuously towards a productive and healthy routine.
How to create a routine for remote work
Investing time into thinking about a balanced routine is the first step to a healthier relationship with work. You can’t be productive 24 hours per day, and that’s ok! The goal is to give your best without draining all your energy.
Here’s how you can start transforming your everyday remote work routine:
1. Stick to a schedule
Despite the fact that flexibility is one of the main perks of remote work, too much unpredictability and not knowing what to do with your day can be highly stressful. Meanwhile, it can also lead to an unhealthy extra working hours regimen.
Although you may have to make occasional concessions, investing in time management and sticking to a schedule are the best strategies to solve under or super-productive habits. You’ll determine which time you’ll start and stop working and allocate periods for breaks and personal activities.
Extra tip: Following a new routine can be challenging initially, but the time blocking technique can help you out. Learn more with An introduction to Time Blocking.
2. Introduce clear boundaries to your coworkers
A hard truth about getting started with a balanced work-life is that your coworkers are still used to your old self, the one that was always available. While they are not to blame, it is essential to establish new boundaries regarding your availability.
Once you’ve decided on a daily plan that works for you and your team, publicize it so that teammates in different regions and time zones are aware of and respectful of it. Also, if you have any work-related apps on your personal phone, set them up so you won’t receive any more notifications after a specific time. With a reasonable and clear routine plan, your team will likely agree with your boundaries easily.
3. Respect your limits and acknowledge your time off
Harder than setting boundaries with employers and coworkers is respecting our boundaries ourselves. It isn’t easy to let go of the constant urge for productivity and efficiency, which usually ends up making us stretch our working hours and push our limits.
If you are having trouble respecting your limits and completely logging off after working hours or off-days, a good trick is to separate your working space from your living and resting space. By doing so, your brain will slowly stop associating your bed and couch with work and your Netflix binging nights will soon be fun again.
4. Take care of your physical health
When working remotely, especially from home, we are less likely to give enough attention to our physical needs as work time and “me time” become entangled and mixed up. It is not unusual to hear about people forgetting to drink water or even eat proper meals throughout the day.
So, if taking care of your physical health is not a habit that comes naturally to you, taking it into consideration while designing your routine can bring great long-term benefits to your daily life. Here are some small healthy habits that you can slowly implement in your routine:
- Get 10 minutes of sunlight daily;
- Get up a take a short walk back and forth to the kitchen every two hours;
- Stretch before and after work;
- Drink one glass of water per working hour;
- Prepare easy and balanced meals for lunch and dinner beforehand;
- Leave healthy grab-and-go snacks handy.
5. Use digital tools to help you out
The great news is that you don’t have to organize your balanced routine by yourself. Tech and digital tools can come in handy to help you with your new schedule. From setting your availability on Slack and indicating your working hours on Google Calendar, tech is here to make our lives easier.
Akiflow translates this motto by combining tasks and calendars in one space, optimizing your time by not having to jump between several different apps. You can integrate your most used tools into a centralized platform and organize your day holistically without missing anything.
Our goal is to help you seamlessly manage your personal and professional lives with our one-stop-shop solution. With Akiflow, you’ll learn to spend your time wisely with effortless planning.
Get to know Akiflow: Discover the Best Time Blocking App available.
Having the opportunity to work remotely is great, and doing that while also maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle is even greater. Productivity and efficiency come second compared to a rested and refreshed body and mind.
You can try sticking to a schedule, setting boundaries, and using tech tools for that extra help to get you started. With one step at a time, at your own pace, you can build a balanced remote work routine, giving your best during working hours while still enjoying the other great things life has to offer.