The work-from-home lifestyle, though highly advantageous, comes with several disadvantages, especially in the life of those with family. Parents are now remembered by their kids as men and women who spend numerous hours behind computer screens. As this work mode has slowly come to stay, so have the blurred lines between work and family life. Many parents find it difficult to specify where their duties as employees end and their duties as parents begin. While there’s no magic spell that can right the wrongs that come with the new normal, there are a few things you can do intentionally to flip the home and work switch. Here are a few tips to consider
Create a dedicated workspace
A dedicated workspace within your home is of utmost importance when differentiating your work and family life. In Balance the Grind, Dr Anthony Singh says that both your family and work life will benefit greatly from having either a glorified closet or a full-on home office where you work from. While your designated office space takes away all distractions, it also signals to your family that you’re in full work mode once you’re in this space. At the end of the work day, you move out of that space, shut the door, and activate your family mode until the next day. This ensures you are fully present to enjoy your time with family.
Use transitional breaks throughout the day
One other great way to bridge the gap between your two different worlds is to employ transitional breaks that take you out of work mode and ready for the family. A transitional break in this context refers to an activity or a thing that replaces any mental decompression you might experience while switching modes. Transitions can be in the form of taking walks, reading a good book, or listening to a fun podcast. By doing this, you become more present and focused on your next task, whether it’s doing homework with your kids, having candid conversations with your wife or writing reports.
Do work at night sparingly
Sometimes with family, the best time for productivity is at night, while everyone is sound asleep. However, doing this regularly may do more harm than good. Set boundaries with night work by choosing a specific number of nights it can be done. It might be two nights a week, or five nights but only for two hours. This prevents you from burning out and getting stressed, making you more reliable and available to your family.
Setting unrealistic goals for work or family could affect your work-life balance. For instance, assuming you want to spend more time with your family during the week. But you know you work every weekday! Or perhaps working over the weekend, knowing that’s family time. These unrealistic goals mean you’re either compromising on work or not being reliable to your family. Therefore, being more realistic about your expectations is important to ensure you do not default on either side.
The major life goal for all family-oriented people should be to create adequate free time within their busy schedule to spend with their family. Creating family time is essential because it not only allows you to bond but also prevents you from crashing from the lack of work breaks.