How to separate Work from Home

How to separate Work from Home

For those still working from home, it's important to set clear boundaries to ensure a healthy work-life balance.

Have you ever spent hours obsessing over incomplete work tasks, anxiously worrying about the future or even second-guessing decisions that you made? Many of us have been there, and many of us will continue to experience these feelings.

One of the biggest barriers that we must overcome is learning to "switch off" our intrusive thoughts and be present during our free time. Each time we allow these pervasive work thoughts into our head, it reactivates our stress response and limits our ability to effectively recharge. This mindset can have detrimental impacts on your sleep, eating habits, and even your relationships with family.

How do you separate "Work" from "Home"?

With many of us now working from home, it's become an even greater challenge to switch off. Seriously, the words "work" and "home" are now in the same sentence, it doesn't get closer than that. Without the physical distance, our minds have an even harder time creating those boundaries between work and leisure hours. Overcoming these mental obstacles is a task that requires long-term investment. You need to actively catch yourself mid-intrusive thought and learn to garner those thoughts into positive ones.

Psychologist Guy Wynch, suggests these 5 easy ways to develop mindful habits

1. Journal how much time you spend worrying about work

Based on his research, Guy recommends keeping a weekly journal on how much time you spend anxiously thinking about work during out-of-office hours. From his experience, he found he spent a total of 14 hours in just 1 week worrying about trivial matters which ultimately impacted his relationships with others and disrupted his ability to enjoy personal moments.

Recognising these disruptive thoughts and physically seeing how much negative energy you are exerting is one of the first steps in developing healthier habits.

Desk space

2. Set strict time boundaries

Negative thoughts are very difficult to resist. Even by looking at your phone after hours can bring you back into the negative mindset and trigger a stress release. Switch off your email notifications and close your laptop. Stick to your dedicated work hours and leave your devices somewhere in the house where it won't tempt you.

Guy puts it nicely,

When we lack a physical boundary between work and home, we have to create a psychological one

3. Channel your negative thoughts into productive ones

When you feel yourself brewing over troublesome thoughts, view them not as an issue, but rather a problem to be solved.

The problem of "I have so much to do and not enough time" can be transformed into "Where in my schedule can I fit this task in?" By simply sitting down and spending 10 minutes going over your schedule can help ease the tension associated with an intense workload.

Desk space

4. Create a strict work zone only space in your home

This is one of the simplest ways to create a physical separation of work and home in your space. Try to make a routine out of this. Sit down to work, have your lunch away from this area, and come back to when you're ready to continue.

As tempting as working from bed or the lounge may seem, these spaces are for living, not working. Whilst it takes a lot of self-determination and willpower to not give in to the comfort of your home, developing healthy work habits starting at the place where you sit and work will help to create that mental boundary of "work" and "home".

5. Dress as if you're going to work

This might seem strange for some, but it is a huge part of creating a mental and physical routine when working from home. It not only gives you an immediate accomplishment for the day, but it also triggers the desire to continue to achieve things and remain productive.

At the end of the day, get out of your work clothes and do something completely separate to work. Whether that be doing a home workout, going for a walk, or simply playing some music whilst cooking dinner. Any of these will help establish the end of your workday and continue developing the separation of work and home.

Final thoughts

Developing a positive mindset doesn't happen overnight, like all good things, it takes time, effort, and most importantly perseverance.

You invest so much in your work, it's time to invest in you.

To hear more from Guy Wynch, listen to his great podcast on "How to turn off work thoughts during your free time".

Frequently Asked Questions

How to stay productive whilst working from home

Creating a clean, clutter-free work environment is crucial to getting you in the zone. It's also useful to set strict time boundaires to ensure you don't overwork or underwork yourself.

Can I work part-time from an office?

Yes. Take a coworking desk or private office on a daily, weekly, or monthly membership. There are plenty of flexible offices in suburbs closer to home. Make the most of both working from home and working in a convenient office.

Is "Work-Near-Home" the new normal?

Rather than renting floors in a larger commercial premises, businesses will be able to pay rent on a desk by desk basis in coworking spaces. Alternatively, if businesses decide to set up smaller satellite offices around the city, they’ll be more cost-effective and versatile. As well as that, employees with more flexibility will be happier with their employer and more satisfied at work. This will inevitably result in a boost in productivity, as well as more efficient practices.

Find a Flexible Office Near You Today
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