How to Set Boundaries While Working From Home
The “new normal” is constantly evolving, but it looks like remote work will be a part of our lives for a while.
Some love the flexibility that comes with remote work while others find it to be a challenge.
“If you don’t create boundaries and systems that help you stay focused on what matters most, you not only won’t be productive, you’ll end up burned out not just in your work, but in your life,” Jason Aten says in Inc.
Aten offers three tips that could mean the difference between being productive and being burned out.
Shut the door
“When you go to an office, you know you’re there to work,” Aten explains. “When you work from home, it all runs together, unless you create a dedicated space to work and go there when it’s time to get things done.”
Having a space where you can close the door means the time behind the door will be free from distractions such as a housemate wandering by to chat or smells from the kitchen.
If you don’t have a physical door, there are metaphorical ones as well.
“Shutting out distractions also applies to the virtual world as well,” Aten says. “It’s OK to turn off notifications for Slack and Twitter and Messages.”
Chunk your time
Chunking time makes it easier to prioritize tasks and schedule meetings. Some examples of ways to chunk your time are writing time in the morning, research before lunch, or answering e-mails in the late afternoon.
“The reality is that when you work from home, it can be hard to keep a regular 9-to-5 schedule, especially with homeschooling and other challenges,” Aten says. “The more important thing is to have a plan for how you’ll accomplish your task list.”
Plan when to quit
Be intentional about when and how you quit. When you schedule out your day, schedule when you will quit work for the day and then stick to that time. Don’t keep going just because there is more work to do.
“There will always be plenty of work to do, but if you don't decide when to stop, you never will,” Aten says. “You need balance in your life with time to do other things. That starts with deciding to quit.”