This content may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. However, I only recommend products or services that I genuinely like and trust.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about how to find a better work-life balance when you work from home. A lot of people struggle to stop working so much when their home becomes their office. It’s hard to set boundaries. You might feel guilty when you’re not working because, technically, you’re still at work.
But there’s another side to the story as well. Sometimes there’s too much life in your work-life balance, and you feel like you’re not getting enough work done. You might spend too much time looking after chores in your home or deciding what to eat for dinner.
Or you might just watch WAY too much Netflix. I have to raise my hand here because that’s my problem!
So how do you ensure that you’re not getting carried away with all this newfound freedom that working from home has given you?
Here are some tips to help you make sure that there’s still some work in your work-life balance.
Streamline your processes
It’s easy to get distracted from work when there’s a mountain of laundry beside your desk, or you’re worried about what to make for dinner.
You need to streamline your processes, so you can get as much of this routine stuff done in as little time as possible.
My favorite way to do this is to meal plan. Meal planning can make your work-at-home life so much better!
If you start meal planning, you’ll no longer waste time thinking about what to eat, and then just opt for the quickest, least healthy option because you’ve wasted so much time. It’s like when you’re trying to find something to watch on Netflix. You spend a couple of hours trying to find something new and interesting to watch, and then you give up and watch some trashy reality TV show, just for the sake of watching something!
Here’s how you can save time through meal planning:
- Write a shopping list and tick everything off as you go around the grocery store. This will make sure you have all the ingredients you need so you don’t have to make any last-minute trips to the grocery store.
- Invest in a slow cooker. You throw it on in the morning and come back to it in the evening, meaning you don’t have to stand over your food while it cooks. It sounds counterintuitive; save time by cooking things slowly. But believe me, it works!
- Make extra food so that you have enough to have leftovers for lunch. Double win. You save time and money!
I’m not the biggest fan of cleaning. I clean up after myself, but I avoid things like sweeping and dusting until I just can’t take it anymore. By that stage, there are so many layers of dust that it takes me much longer to clean it.
I know some of you will have the opposite problem where you can’t walk past a speck of dirt without cleaning it. Stopping to do chores whenever you spot them will distract you from your work. You think it will only take you five minutes, but then you spot something else, and it spirals out of control.
So to ensure that your house stays clean, but you don’t spend all day on it, I recommend trying a power hour. Set a timer for one hour and clean as much as you can during that hour. Once the hour is up, down your cleaning tools and go back to your work.
The most important thing is to write your power hour into your schedule. If you know that you’ll be doing a power hour of cleaning on Tuesday at 3 p.m., you won’t worry so much when you spot something out of place on Monday. Make a note of all the little things you see and get to them during your power hour.
You’ll feel like you’ve accomplished so much. And if you didn’t get everything done, save it for the next one!
Cleaning is just one example of how you can use a power hour. You could also use it for running errands, doing some life admin, or making phone calls.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling to find the right balance. If you find that you’re spending too much time on household chores at the expense of your work, ask your partner/roommates for help with cleaning/cooking.
Some of us like things done our own way, but if we give our family a chance, they’re probably much more capable than we give them credit for.
One of the most difficult things about working from home is that other people assume you’re available at the drop of a hat. So they ask you to run errands for them or meet up for coffee several times a week.
Of course, the freedom to meet up with friends for coffee whenever you want is one of the perks of working from home. But it’s the WORK that pays for these coffees, so you still need to prioritize it.
Don’t feel bad about saying no to some requests. Explain that you have work to do. They will understand.
This leads me on to my next point of setting office hours. Once you’ve set them, let your friends and family know that you will be generally unavailable during this time as you need to focus on your work.
Setting boundaries is a good thing. You’re not saying don’t ever ask me to do anything; you’re saying I’m busy between these times, but I can do something after that.
Related Content: How to Boost Your Productivity by Saying No
Set office hours
Having a fixed(ish) schedule for when you’ll be working and when you’ll be free to do personal things will help make sure that you’re getting your work done.
I say fixed(ish) because the reason most of us want to work from home is to have more flexibility. But if you have so much flexibility that you’re not getting any work done, then you need to enforce some kind of routine.
Before deciding on what your office hours should be, consider when your peak productivity hours are. This will be the time when you are most alert and have the most energy.
You will also need to consider when your clients are most likely to need you. Are you in a different time zone? If so, you might need to allocate a couple of hours at unusual times to work.
Again, once you’ve set your office hours, tell your friends and family, so that that they know when you’re unavailable.
If you’re struggling with prioritizing work over life, then try using rewards as an incentive to get your work done.
This is something that works for me. As I mentioned, I struggle to tear myself away from Netflix. But if I really need to get something done, I tell myself that once I’ve gotten this task done, I can watch an episode of something.
What about you? Do you have more life in your work-life balance? How do you make sure that you still get your work done?
You might also like:
- How to be more productive when you work from home
- How to identify and fix your productivity leaks
- How doing a power hour can boost your productivity
More work from home resources
Want to work from home, but you’re not sure how to get started? Check out the Work-At-Home Summit to get all the resources you need to make working from home work for you!
Business Goal Setting Workbook
Your guide to setting and tracking your business goals so you can have a successful year!
Subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular updates and get access to the free guide