We live in unprecedented times: Technology has allowed many of us to stay connected and productive—even while working from home—during the coronavirus outbreak. But the pressure to be “always on” can upset your work-life balance and impact your health and personal relationships, as well as your productivity. Want to create—or maintain—the work-life balance you need, even if you’re working from home? Here are some ideas to consider.
1. Unplug after hours
Establish a firm quitting time at the end of each day and stick to it. Try to limit the amount of times you check email or answer your phone for anything business-related after hours, especially on weekends and an hour before bedtime, because screen viewing can disrupt sleep. If you’re required to stay connected with work on your days off in case of an urgent matter, consider discussing times when you will and won’t be available, as well as the best way to reach you, so you can maintain boundaries.
2. Exercise regularly
Working out promotes both emotional and physical health. Trips to the gym during the coronavirus crisis may not be an option, but you don’t need to run 5 miles on a treadmill to see results. Research shows that just taking a half-hour walk each day can help you:
- Think better, feel better, and sleep better.
- Reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
- Improve your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
- Enhance your sense of well-being.
- Prevent weight gain.
- Improve your memory.
3. Set long- and short-term goals and priorities
It’s important to model how you want your life to look, says Michael D. Rabin, Ph.D., a life coach and consultant based in New York City. Map out a diagram of the percentage of your life you want to devote to work versus other pursuits over the next two to five years. “If you’re consciously working toward a specific kind of balance, it’s easier to make decisions along the way that enable you to get there,” he says. For example, if you want to be more involved with your family, you may decide to forego a work promotion if it requires too many additional hours per week.
You could also set unique goals in major areas of your life, such as professional development, personal growth, family, and friends. Once you’ve identified those categories, list your priorities for the next several months, as well as long-term goals of a year or more. Consider reviewing the lists with a friend or loved one who can help motivate you to stick to those goals.