Someone has rightly said that desperate times call for desperate measures. Well, this holds absolutely true in the present times of the coronavirus pandemic. A large number of people are choosing to work from home. There are many who are actually happy as they have got a chance to stay at home. On the contrary, some of the people are not really able to cope up with the sudden shift.
A large number of companies have actually asked their employees to work from home. This is being done to ensure that they are safe and sound and are able to work from the comfort zone of their homes. The first thing that you get to hear on the television in the present times is all about the coronavirus (COVID-19). It is spreading at an alarming rate and it is getting challenging for everyone to maintain calm and stability. The headlines and updates continually emphasize upon the fact that the contagious virus has become the new normal for all of us. What does this mean for all those employees who are able to work remotely from their houses?
There is no denying the fact that the option of working from home is a blessing in disguise. Some of the amazing benefits include an increase in productivity, flexibility, zero-commute, and the chance to spend quality time with near and dear ones. But there are always two sides to a story. It has become rather difficult for many to maintain the work-life balance.
It is very important to strike the perfect balance, especially during unsure times. You need to take the necessary measures to ensure personal as well as professional growth. It is a well-known fact that only motivated employees will be able to contribute to the organization in a fruitful manner and this work-life balance has a major role to play.
Effects of the lack of work-life balance:
A large number of employees are very scared these days and are feeling insecure as there have been major layoffs or cutbacks or layoffs in most of the organization. They are trying really hard to ensure that they are able to maintain their position. But you choose to spend a lot of time working, and then the chances are that your home life will be negatively affected and this is not a good sign.
Poor work-life balance can lead to some serious consequences such as:
- Fatigue: If you are trying really hard to strike the perfect balance, then you might end up feeling tired all the time. And this will have an adverse effect on your productivity.
- Health: If you are working nonstop for several hours, it can be a major reason for anxiety. This, in turn, will affect your immune system.
- No time for Family: If you are working overtime or for long hours, you will not be able to spend quality time with your near and dear ones and this is not a positive sign.
- Increased Expectations: When you are working all the time you will have to take up extra responsibility. And this, in turn, will lead to extra stress and challenges.
Steps to improve work-life balance:
When you are trying to strike a perfect work-life, then it becomes all the more important that you need to manage your personal as well as professional life in sustainable ways. This, in turn, will help in keeping your body healthy, energy flowing and ultimately make you feel happy and content.
Get into the right mindset:
There is no denying the fact that embracing or resisting changes begin in the mind. All those pessimistic and negative mindsets people will try hard to resist the change. This can lead to frustration, anxiety, and unhappiness. On the other hand, there are optimists who like to look at the brighter side of the picture. One must be thankful for their blessings and stop complaining about the things they cannot change.
Don’t be a pessimist.
As a matter of fact, you need to focus on those things which you can control like your job, good health, ways to get food on your table, and money to pay your bills.
Set clear goals:
First of all, you need to set measurable goals. You need to figure out your priorities and start working accordingly. You need to block time for things like a doctor’s appointment or an important meeting.
Develop a morning and evening routine:
It is very important to pay attention to the fact that most of the successful people in the world plan their day and then start working towards the set goals. You can opt for date planners (electronic or paper).
This will give you the perfect opportunity to turn your goals and priorities into reality. Start your day on a positive note and set aside some time right at the start of the day to plan things. One of the reasons for enhanced efficacy at the office is the fact that you follow a fixed routine.
This will keep you motivated throughout the day. Take out some time for working out, listening to your favorite tunes, and then plan the day ahead. Follow a fixed routine and you will be good to go.
Keep your work schedule sacred
One of the major reasons behind better productivity when you are working from the office is the fact that you follow a strict schedule on a daily basis. But you need not lose heart as you can choose the same schedule while working from home also. Fix a time for waking up, working out, starting work, and spending time with family. The time you used to spend while commuting can be designed for the completion of household chores. This way you will be able to strike the perfect balance even while working from home.
Practice the art of time blocking:
You need to practice the art of blocking time. This is a way to manage your time in a productive manner. You need to sit down and allocate a certain time duration to every kind of work. “Time blocking simplifies everything”, explains Calendar’s Howie Jones. There is no need to keep checking your phone all the time for checking social notifications or an email. You must do this at clearly defined times. But at the end of the day, the way you block your time is entirely at your discretion.
But the main question which arises here is why is time-blocking so effective?
It is important to mention here that to-do-lists are inferior for the beginners. They can find it rather tricky to stick to it. You might be having ten things that you need to accomplish today. But if you take a lot of time in trying to finish the initial two, then your entire routine will get upset.
Well, the golden rule says that you must start with the less critical and more manageable tasks first. Also, when you are blocking your time, you will not be doing multitasking. It is a smart way to ensure that you are not wasting time on not essential activities.
Also, it is an amazing way to retaliate against perfectionism and procrastination. It will be much easier for you to manage things and go for those things which need priority.
Know your priorities:
When you know your priorities it gets much easier for you to manage things at your own pace. You need to have complete clarity about things that you need to start, stop, or continue doing. This will ultimately increase your efficiency.
You need to get rid of distractions. Start this by putting your phone in silent mode while you’re working. Also, you must try to put on a television or music system while working as it can negatively impact your efficiency.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help:
IF you are feeling overwhelmed due to work, then it can be the major reason for undue stress. There is no need to suffer in silence. There is no need to live up to the image of Superman or Superwoman. Try and talk out things with the supervisor. Unsustainable work situations will not lessen unless and until you do something about it. If you feel that you are suffering from issues like chronic stress, then you will have to take professional help. Also, you can try and make the most of the employee assistance program.
There is no hard and fast rule that applies to strike the perfect work-life balance. Everyone has a different way to combine relationships, careers, and personal care into an incorporated whole. Things that might work in your case might be totally useless for someone else. You need to review your situation and then come up with suitable solutions. You must take big changes all at once. You must start with a clear goal and then try adding another one.
It is a well-proven fact by now that the whole process of working from home can be a challenging and overwhelming experience. There are a lot of times when you tend to get anxious when you spend a lot of time on one specific task and have a look at the list of things that is yet to be accomplished.
To avoid this you need to try avoiding multitasking and getting everything done at the same time to feel. Studies reveal that Trying to multitask can result in a 40% decrease in your productivity.
You must focus on one project at a time and try not to think about other things at that moment. You must keep your desktop clear of all those things that are not related to the work in hand. It is a smart idea to fill time in between those blocks that are dedicated to big tasks. You can use the time slot of 5 to 10 minutes for the purpose of replying to emails or personal work like doing the laundry. With all these points you will definitely feel more focused, productive, and dynamic.
Schedule time for yourself
When you have the liberty to work from home you need to keep in mind that it is important to take care of your health also. Most of the remote workers face challenges related to sleeplessness or tend to become workaholics. This, in turn, will lower your productivity and have an adverse effect on your health.
You need to be careful about what you eat. You need to ensure that you are getting adequate sleep ( seven and nine hours of sleep ). If you are not sleeping well enough, there are various methods to help you such as drinking a chamomile tea before bed or play a soothing music. A weighted blanket may also benefit you by reducing your stress levels and keeps you warm throughout the night.
You need to stock up only on healthy snacks. You will be able to lead a healthy lifestyle only when you eat right and sleep well.
The struggle is real when you are working from home. Breaks are crucial and scientifically proven to refill the psychological costs associated with working hard. This, in turn, will boost your energy and improve work productivity.
So do not hesitate from taking a break whenever you feel that you need to boost your energy. You can take a walk just to break the monotony. You can follow do at-home fitness routines or simply meditate. It is a well-known fact that exercise has a major role to play to manage stress and maintain your well-being.
Practice the Pomodoro technique:
It is important to pay attention to the fact that the famous Pomodoro technique was developed in the year 1980 by a university student (Francesco Cirillo). He was facing a tough time trying to cope up with assignments and studies. That was the time he decided to take out 10 minutes and focus completely on studies. He was so motivated by the challenge that he was able to find a tomato (Pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer. Hence, the name of the technique Pomodoro was born. Read on to find out how the technique works:
- Select a task to be completed.
- Set a tomato timer or kitchen timer for 25 minutes.
- You need to work on that particular task for 25 minutes continually.
- After 25 minutes you can take a short five-minute break. And this is how a cycle of one “Pomodoro” is completed.
- Again you need to repeat steps 1 to 4.
- When you are able to complete four Pomodoro, you can take a long 20 minutes break or maybe even longer.
Invest in the right tools:
You also get the perfect opportunity to share files in a hassle-free manner with the help of Google Drive or OneDrive. Your team can also choose to use Slack, for the purpose of faster follow-ups or status updates. You will be able to work at the same time on different projects by teaming up with diverse groups.
Make “To Do” list your best friend:
Things become very simple for all those people who structure their day in the right manner. You must stick to your to-do lists. There can be nothing better than the above-mentioned techniques for adding on your productivity and professional growth. You can just keep passing your time without being clueless. You need to prioritize things and start working in the right direction.
It is a smart idea to divide the work clearly into two categories (one for work and another for private tasks). This way you will get a clear picture of all those things that need our immediate attention. And at the same time, you will not be compromising on your relationships. You can share the list with your best friend just to ensure that you are not missing out on any of the vital aspects. After all, it is important to strike the perfect work-life balance to lead a happy life.
According to Jessica Taylor, the best way to reduce your stress level is to work out. There can be nothing better than yoga for meditation for calming down a spinning mind. You can also choose to go out for walks to clear your mind. In the end, you need to figure out ways to keep fit and healthy. Someone has rightly said that a healthy mind dwells in a healthy body.
Have a designated workspace:
It is very important to select a specific area for working as the area will directly influence your overall performance and productivity at work. You can choose any particular spot and set it up like your office. There can be nothing better than transforming an entire room like your workplace. This has a major role to play in shifting your mindset quickly. You can avoid all the unnecessary distractions by choosing appropriate working hours and locking the door when you do not wish to be disturbed.
You need to understand that nothing will change unless and until you change your lifestyle and habits. You need to achieve the perfect work-life balance and this is not going to happen on its own. You need to put in the effort. You need to plan things in advance. You need to continually be conscious of your efforts and take the right step in the right direction. Try and incorporate some of the above-mentioned techniques and ideas in your day to day life and see the changes for yourself. You can soon see things moving towards the positive side. Don’t waste your time and get started right away. Good luck!
Aman Jha is a digital marketing author, speaker, and consultant. He is a sucker for fine words and blogs about digital marketing and startups. He has been featured in reputed publications like Entrepreneur and Yourstory and also runs a content writing agency MAXZOB