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Working from home has its perks. You don't have to deal with traffic; you can simply tidy up your desk, log off, and boom — work’s done! Quite the adjustment from working in the office when you have an end-of-the-day routine to prep yourself for the long commute home!
But the thing with working remotely is that it's hard to step away from work when the day’s over. If you're not ending your day properly, you might end up stretching your work hours long after quitting time. That’s unhealthy!
When you’re working for longer hours, you’ll feel burned out and stressed out. Home won’t feel like home anymore — more like a prison where you are stuck at your desk slaving away long after 5 o’clock.
It’s hard to separate your work life from your home life if you’re not ending every workday properly. Here are ways to end your day when you work remotely:
The first thing you need to do to avoid working beyond regular work hours is setting a schedule and sticking to it. No matter what! When you’ve set a work schedule, you’ll be able to tear yourself away from work at the right time without feeling guilty. It will help set your team’s expectations, respect your working time, and create a distinction between your work life and your home life.
Creating a work schedule is easy; just outline the best time to start working, breaks, and the end of your workday. If it’s hard to tear yourself away from work, set a reminder using a reminder app or digital calendar.
Take a few minutes at the end of each day to wrap up whatever project you’re working on and end your day. Don’t stop working abruptly and then end up picking up where you left off later in the evening because you didn’t wrap up work properly or being stressed out the morning after trying to remember what you were doing the day before.
It’s tempting to sneak in an hour of extra work hour when you’re handling different projects but don’t. If you seriously want to maximize your free time and enjoy the perks of working from home, you need to end your work hours on the schedule. No sneaking a few minutes in the middle of dinner to respond to an email or chat with your boss about work while watching a movie with the kids.
If you were unable to complete your tasks because you ran out of time, you’re better off waking early to get more work done instead of cutting into family or after-work leisure.
You may hate the long commute after work, but as a transition between your work and personal life, you can relax, leave the stresses of the workday for another day. There is a mental shift between your work life and home life while commuting. This shift is the bridge between working and relaxing, a third space.
Since you’re working from home now, you’ll skip this bridge entirely, and it’ll be difficult to clear your weary mind. To adjust, you need to build your own third space to decompress.
After work, you can create your own “commute” by going for a walk, having coffee dates with friends, working out, or going on a quick run. Whatever activity you choose, be sure that it’s something grounding, relaxing. Jumping from work to doing home chores with zero transition will only frazzle the brain. A grounding activity helps refocus, so you don’t feel stressed out or tired between work and home.
Don’t let unfinished tasks get in the way of your home life after logging off from work. Create a to-do list at the end of each day so you’ll know exactly what to prioritize in the morning. You can use a project management app like Asana, Trello, or BaseCamp to create a to-do list. You can also write your to-dos on a planner or your phone’s Notes app.
Review all the things that you’ve accomplished before ending your day. See what tasks are pending, what projects need your immediate attention, and what tasks are on repeat. Put everything on your to-do list. Once you have a good grasp of the tasks waiting for you the next day, you can end your day.
Pat yourself on the back each time you’ve ticked a task off your list, and don’t feel too guilty if you didn’t complete your to-dos for the day. Do not fit too many tasks into one day because that’s the quickest way to burn out. By creating a to-do list for tomorrow, you won’t feel unprepared. You won’t stress out over work while enjoying some much-needed me-time.
End the day by getting a well-deserved rest. Turn off any work-related notifications while prepping for bed. Stop yourself from responding to an email or running back to your computer because this could ruin your nighttime routine and cause unnecessary stress before sleeping.
Remember, self-care is essential even if you’re working from home. Getting as much rest as you can help is paramount to a productive day at work. Take a bath or shower, dress for bed, and indulge in nighttime activities that relax the mind – read a good book, bond with your kids/partner, etc. – to recharge and soothe frayed nerves. By the following day, you’ll have the best start.
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