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10 ways to keep your home and work separated in our “work from anywhere” world

A drawback of the remote or hybrid office is that work is now ingrained in our lives – you can work from your phone or your laptop, in the waiting room of your doctor’s office or at 3:00 a.m. when you can’t sleep. 

Working late into the evening, or even just constantly thinking about work when you’re not working, can lead to burnout and affect other aspects of your life. Here are ten ways to maintain a healthy relationship with your work:

  1. Set boundaries with your clients and colleagues

Communicate your working hours to your coworkers and customers, and hold yourself accountable to limiting work to those hours. After working hours, try to avoid responding to emails or Slack to set the expectation that the sender won’t receive a response until the following day.

  1. Don’t waste your weekday evenings

It’s easy to reserve making plans and spending time on hobbies for the weekend when you have the most free time. Not using our weeknight evenings to do things that we enjoy can make our weeks monotonous – and why do we need to wait until the weekend to do fun things?

Try to use one or two weeknights to plan something exciting, whatever that may be for you – see a movie at the theater, spend a little extra time on a great dinner, go to happy hour with a friend, or try a new workout class. Plus, if you’re actually busy after work, you have to stop working at a certain time, and probably won’t be thinking about work either.

  1. Minimize personal screen time

When you work off of your laptop all day, you probably feel like you never get a break from screen time when you’re also on your phone before or after work. Try to be mindful of how much time you spend mindlessly scrolling social media in the evenings, and maybe put your phone in another room to help you stay present.

  1. Limit how much you talk (or complain) about work

Obviously, you want to share your latest project or accomplishment at work with your partner, family, or roommates. But, consistently venting about work over dinner or on Facetime with your best friend and always making it an integral topic of conversation can make you feel like your work life is bleeding into your personal life and relationships.

  1. Get rid of or shorten unnecessary meetings

Zoom burnout is real, and going from back-to-back meetings is exhausting. If your presence isn’t needed in a meeting, see if you can remove it from your calendar – it’ll give you more bandwidth to complete your actual work in the time you have and leave you feeling more accomplished at the end of the day.

  1. Use separate devices for work

It’s easy to get into the habit of checking your work email on the weekend, but taking the account off of your phone can eliminate the temptation to keep checking on things when you should be disconnecting.

  1. Take the time to slow down your mornings

If you don’t have a commute anymore, see if you can take the time you’re saving in the mornings to slow down and set yourself up for a great day. Having a chaotic morning can lead to having a stressful day, so try spending a little extra time having breakfast with your family, enjoying your coffee, or getting a quick chore done.

  1. Take intentional breaks

If you take a break from work just to spend 15 minutes on TikTok, is it really a break? Actually getting up from your desk and away from your computer to take a walk, call a family member, or do the dishes is more restful and will help you be more productive once you come back to work.

  1. Have a “shut down ritual”

If you don’t have to commute home after work, it might be helpful to have something else to signify that work is done for the day and transition into your home life. 

Towards the end of your day, go through your to-do list and check off what you accomplished, take a look at your calendar for tomorrow, shut off your computer or put your laptop somewhere out of sight, plan out your dinner, or do a quick workout. Having a routine that you can implement daily will help train your mind to associate that ritual with no longer thinking about work.

  1. Rent a quiet desk

Re-introducing some elements of office life, like working around others and driving home in the evening, can help you separate your personal and work life. Renting a desk at a coworking space is a great way to shake up your remote work routine and get away from your home. Plus, coworking spaces offer several amenities that can make it feel like a reward for surviving work-from-home life.

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