Is There A Life-Work Balance When You Work From Home?
There are many preconceived notions on what it's like to work from home, and there's probably a little truth in each of the differing expectations.
Is it really possible, though, to have a work-life balance when you work from the same place you live?
First, a confession: I don't believe there's such a thing as a true balance, period.
In order to have true balance, you must have equal and separate parts of your life, and that's not attainable.
To me, it's more of a juggling act. Balls are always moving, and if you're not paying attention, some will end up dropped.
I do believe, however, it's possible to keep the balls in the air, systematically, and without too much damage should one fall to the ground now and again.
There are challenges when you work from home.
The comforts of your living space can be more of a distraction than a benefit at times. It's hard to focus on tasks-at-hand when there's a dog that needs walked, or laundry that needs folded, or a child who needs an emergency bath because they were left alone for two seconds and got into all the things.
Developing a structured routine and creating a dedicated, aesthetic workspace, however, are simple fixes to the possible problems working from home can create. Spend the mornings snuggling with those kiddos (or pets) and they tend to do better not clinging to you later on.
Carve out some "brain break" time to do the mindless stuff that has to get done, like the laundry, or the cooking, or the coffee-drinking-while-staring-into-space.
Develop a schedule that not only meets the needs of your work, but of your surroundings as well. It's easier to address the work-from-home life proactively rather than only reactively.
Having a dedicated workspace is critical. For one thing, it keeps your materials and physical resources in one locale. You'll spend less time looking for your supplies when they're kept in the same area day to day, which means you'll spend more time being productive.
Having a space you do your work from trains your mind and body to respond appropriately. When you routinely sit (or stand) in your workspace, your second-nature trains itself to immediately start focusing on work.
When I go to bed each night, my mind and body know that space is for sleep. When I sit at the dining table, my mind and body know that space is for eating. When I sit at my desk, my mind and body know it's time to get down to business.
There will always be exceptions to every rule. For the most part, when I find I'm in a creative-funk and can't get my work juices flowing, I know it helps me to move to a different spot (or leave altogether and take my favorite table at my favorite coffee shop). Primarily, though, having my schedule and my space contribute to the most productive me I can be.
There are benefits when you work from home, too. But you'll have to come back later and read about those.
The answer to the question, though, is a big fat YES! You can work from home and still keep work and life separate, you can still have a life, and you can still juggle things beautifully.