The Importance of Separating Your Work and Personal Life
If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that staying cooped up in a house for weeks on end isn’t exactly the most desirable lifestyle – not even for those of us who are fortunate enough to work from home.
The idea of working from home is certainly enticing, even if it might put added stress on your managers’ plates. For some individuals, it’s actually resulted in more efficient efforts, leaving companies nationwide to consider whether work-from-home protocols should be extended to employees after the COVID-19 crisis has passed.
But make no mistake: maintaining a work-life balance is important if individuals are going to continue to succeed away from the office – and it’s critical for individuals who are struggling to adapt to the “new norm.”
Separating Work From Play
When you’re working from home, is it really possible to separate work from the other aspects of your life? With kids, spouses, pets, and parents potentially offering distractions throughout the day, how can a person expect to work from home with the same prowess as in an office – especially if they’ve never done it before? The answer varies from household to household.
- When possible, designate a specific space to work, and don’t use it for anything else. This, in an ideal setting, is a home office, but a spare bedroom or basement will do just fine.
- When you are working, close the door, and let your family know that this means you are at work; the same rules should apply as they do on a normal workday.
- If this luxury isn’t possible, do your best to get by. Use earplugs or headphones to drown out extraneous and distracting sounds. Again, tell family members not to bother you unless it is an emergency, and don’t allow yourself to get distracted by the little things you might usually do after-hours.
This is all, of course, easier said than done, which is why the idea of living “away” from your workspace is key. Setting up a designated area to work from gives you the freedom to enjoy the other aspects of your life during your off-hours without needing to alter much about your lifestyle.
The Science Behind This Separation
Some theories claim that individuals who can set clear boundaries between their work and home life are “less likely to experience conflict between the two fronts.” This allows people to flip a switch and “give both lives enough attention.” What’s more, studies show that people who don’t flip this switch are more at risk for burnout – both from a mental and physical standpoint.
The point? Even if you are crushing it during this time, make sure you don’t get complacent. If you are struggling, try to find new ways to separate your two primary lives – it can only help to increase your productivity.
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