The pandemic has been mentally exhausting for everyone. For many people, this has resulted in a decline in their work performance since they are constantly dealing with distractions while working from home. Furthermore, opportunities to go out for a night on the town or a weekend vacation getaway to refresh and reenergize is still impossible for many. Working from home has blurred the lines between professional life and personal life.
In many communities, schools remain closed. So a work day in the home office also includes caring for younger children and making sure they’re present for their online classes. People are sleeping at odd hours and working endlessly without a break, failing to spend any quality time with their families. This has led to unhealthy work-life balance and is taking a toll on mental well-being.
As the COVID crisis is likely to go on for quite some time, let’s look at some effective ways to maintain a good work-life balance as we enter the new year:
- Plan your day
One of the major reasons for things going haywire when working from home is the absence of boundaries. There is generally no fixed routine and no office manager checking in to see how you’re doing and offering support. A lot of times you may wake up confused about what exactly you are supposed to achieve that day.
To prevent such a situation, plan your day the night before. Managers handling remote teams can ensure team members are being productive during work hours and spending post-work hours with their family by planning work more effectively. There are several open source project management software solutions that help in scheduling tasks and monitoring work progress.
- Exercise regularly
One of the best ways to stay active and reduce stress is to exercise. Any kind of physical activity will enable your body to release endorphins and make you feel better. This is very helpful for those working for hours at stretch doing mentally challenging work. It also helps you sleep better as you are physically tired.
Regular exercise can help you feel more in control and improve your mood, which also lowers feelings of depression and anxiety. Exercising with friends virtually through a Zoom call or taking an online class gives you an opportunity to socialize and engage in non-work related topics. This adds a dose of entertainment to your life which helps you go back to the hone office feeling more lively.
- Maintain a to-do list
To-do lists are often underrated because a lot of people feel they are capable of remembering everything. Even if you are proficient in remembering every work-related detail, a to-do list can relieve you from the stress of constantly maintaining a mental check-list. Checking that mental list can become a distraction leading to sleepless nights and exhaustion.
If you suddenly had a great idea about what you could get your spouse for their birthday, you can pen it down on your to-do list instead of regretting later in case you forgot it. It also prevents you from leaving work to immediately pursue a task that you are doing out of the fear of forgetting to do later. Taking frequent, unnecessary breaks in your home office can decrease your productivity significantly.
- Take time off
In the pre-pandemic times, people took days off from work to spend time at home with their family or to travel. For most of this past year of 2020, people have been working from their couch in the comfort of their sweatpants. It can make you feel like there is no need for off-days. But no matter what is happening in the world, the mind needs a break to relax and recharge.
Take time to think of things that you would like to do apart from work, and take off-days to do those things. This could be as simple as playing with your kids in your yard or being on a video call with your close friends. If you want to spend time on a hobby, step away from work completely on weekends to focus on it.