So working from home is the “new norm”. Most of us are pretty settled into the fact that this is the way things are right now. You might be asking “How do I have better work life balance during covid?”.
Here’s the thing: Just because this is the new normal, doesn’t mean that all work boundaries should go out the window.
In this post I’m sharing 7 things you need to stop doing if you want work life balance during covid and what you should be doing instead.
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- 5 Productivity Hacks To Help You NAIL Work Life Balance
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Why don’t we have work life balance during covid?
I believe that you should never do things you don’t want to do. That you should never feel guilty about setting boundaries between you and work.
It is your life after all!
But in the last year, work has crept into our homes. It has crept into our spare time.
So now it feels like you have less time than ever outside of work!
Instead of saying that this is just the “new norm”, let’s dive into what you should be doing instead to set boundaries at work and prioritize your mental health above all else.
7 things you should do differently if you want work life balance during covid
1) Stop endlessly productivity hacking
Productivity hacking is when you come up with systems efficiently keeping up your work output.
If you have a killer productivity system, but you don’t ever have energy for yourself at the end of it? You don’t have work life balance, you have an efficient way of organizing your time.
Instead, find times that you work best and schedule your hard work for then. You should also give yourself permission to not be as productive at all times. Working from home feels hard because it IS hard.
2) Don’t give into pressure for immediacy
There seems to be this weird phenomenon where jobs think we have all the time in the world to answer because we are at home doing “not much”.
This is a tip for working at the office as well. If you get one work boundary tip from me, make it this one. Don’t give into the pressure of answering immediately.
I like to use the 3 R’s: read, re-locate and repeat.
Say you get an email like this. Read it so you have an idea of what they need. Next, re-locate it to your future to-do list while you come up with an appropriate response. Finally, take a deep breath to release it for now.
Remember: Unless you are literally an on-call doctor, nobody will die if you don’t answer every email within a couple of minutes.
The more you feel pressured to answer quickly, the more likely you are to agree to something that you don’t want to do. No more!
3) Only work the hours you are paid
Again, this is a good rule of thumb anyway.
Even if there is pressure to be a team player. Even if there is pressure to work overtime.
Working super hard in the hopes of a promotion or saving up money might seem like you are giving to your future self. Instead what you’re doing is stealing from your current happiness. If you want to know how to put yourself first NOW, send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org to talk about how you can put your mental health above your job and still have money and safety nets set up.
Instead of working more hours than you are paid, start saying loud and often “I only work until 5pm. I do not answer emails after hours.”
Start to say this to your family, your parter, your flatmates, your co-workers, your boss. Say it out loud so that it becomes your reality.
4) Prioritize life OUTSIDE of work
The thing about work life balance is that it is kind of a crock. Which is wild coming from me, a literal work life balance coach.
But honestly? You can focus entirely on life outside of work.
Instead of figuring out how to fit your life around your working hours and how busy you are?
Make your work fit around the rest of your life. Make work fit around meal times, around your morning routine, around Netflix binging.
This is one of the fundamental principles I teach my 1:1 work life balance coaching clients. Life can come first!
5) Define space between work and play
Another mistake you might be making for work life balance during covid is that you have no definition between spaces.
You are falling back into wearing your lounging around the house clothes under the desk. Your desk might be creeping out to the lounge area instead of a designated work space.
Get back into the routine of having defined work clothes so that you can get out of them at 5pm. This signals to your brain that it is time to switch off.
In a small space? Believe me I know, I lived in a tiny inner city apartment for years! Here are some of the things I did to differentiate between the two areas:
- Have focus music on for when I was working
- Change from comfy work clothes to comfy relaxing clothes
- Get up earlier so I could relax in my space before taking my laptop out
- Putting my laptop away entirely out of sight, not just closing it
6) Break out of “normalcy”
One of the hardest things about working from home during covid? The new normal starts to feel so…. Mundane.
Instead of letting the new normal become too “normal”, I want you to start romanticizing small moments.
Does the sun catch the steam from your coffee? Do you have a favourite mug? Does your favourite cuddly blanket and candles make Netflix more bougee? Do you have your “fancy” mask for dressing up to go out?
Slow down enough to notice the small moments.
You’ll be amazed how much you want to prioritize life and fun outside of work on your laptop.
7) Stop being so hard on yourself
Lastly, even though we are coming up on two years of this “new normal”, don’t be too hard on yourself. Now more than ever you need to prioritize your mental health.
It is more important than what your boss wants you to do.
Your mental health is more important than people with strict deadlines.
Even more important than making sure everyone around you has what they need and forgetting about yourself!
Give yourself permission to have slower days than others. To have days where you mute all notifications and take longer than usual to respond.
You are in charge of how other people treat you at work, so start setting boundaries at work!
Final thoughts on work life balance during covid
Remember- just because these things are normal, doesn’t mean they should be. Just because they are paying you, doesn’t mean they should get to rule your entire life. Nobody controls your energy without your permission.
If you want help learning how to put your mental health above your work, click the button below to find out more about work life balance coaching with me!