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4 easy ways you can actually have a work-life balance during WFH

No thanks to the pandemic, the work from home scheme has been a major part of our lives and threw many of our work-life balances off-center. I used to be a huge fan of working from home–after all, what’s not to like about waking up later and having a more comfortable workplace? –before my revenge procrastination and complete lack of discipline  took over. This led to the blurring of boundaries between work and rest; on productive days I get off work on time, but sometimes it could drag on till eight in the evening. 

While I didn’t mind in the beginning, this lack of separation between the work and rest began to manifest in a massive burnout, leading to a lack of excitement and passion in work I used to love doing. So, what else is in it for us?

A few benefits of a good work-life balance:

  • Increased productivity
  • Fewer physical and mental health issues
  • Feeling more present when you’re working and having ‘you’ time

Ways to help achieve a work-life balance

Set time boundaries, but remain a little flexible.

This is a given! If you aren’t a fan of rigid schedules like me, set looser goals to achieve once every few hours so you can work at your own pace. I have a to-do list for each day so I don’t feel overwhelmed, the list (which can be on any scrap of paper, by the way, no fancy diary necessary) ‘grounds’ the number of tasks into a tangible form, making it easier for me to plan the rest of the day according to how many I have left. 

Have a set start and end time when it comes to working, for example, 9am to 7pm, after which you stop work for the day. 

Here’s an article about time blocking, a method which our writer, Laura, found useful.

Use separate browsers for work and leisure

If you use the same device for work and play, it might be subconsciously stressful to have all your work tabs open while using it for other purposes. Instead, use a separate web window, or browser. I use Safari for work and Google Chrome for other purposes so I don’t get stressed out during my off-time and don’t get distracted during the day.

Turn irrelevant notifications off 

Aim to create different ‘spheres’ for each half of your life, down to your notifications. This might be difficult especially if these two exist within the confines of your home, and if you use your phone for both work and leisure. Research from Florida State University shows that the pings you get on your phones are just as distracting as the actual notifications (phone calls, messages, Instagram DMs, etc.) are.

Make use of your notification settings and switch off those from distracting apps. For example, I silence Instagram, Telegram and Whatsapp notifications during my work hours (save for my manager’s messages) using a customised ‘Focus’ mode (available on iOS15 or later), and vice versa with Gmail when I’m off-duty. 

At the risk of sounding like an Apple ad, this addition (think of it as a customisable Do Not Disturb mode for certain apps and people) has helped me be more present during both work and rest, as you can choose who you want to hear from. See how to create your own here.

Find something exciting to do after work

Rushing to finish up something only to realise you’ve OT-ed for an hour or so? Been there. It’s not always easy to disconnect quickly especially if you’re ‘almost done’ with your task, but it helps to have something to look forward to at the end of a long day. That could be a date, a virtual hang-out session with your best friends, or even something as simple as a YouTube video or Netflix episode you’ve saved to your ‘to watch’ list.

Know yourself well 

We all struggle with different things, and have that most dreaded thing to do each day. Experts suggest tackling the biggest things earlier in the day so as to work with the inertia instead of against it, and then de-escalate from there. This could also mean prioritising something urgent first before everything else, so you’re down to the more minor tasks when the day ends, making it easier for you to put a pin in it till tomorrow.

Other articles from HerCampus @ Nanyang Tech you might find useful:

Time-management and study techniques:

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Nicole Ng

Nanyang Tech '24

The real-life Emily Charlton from The Devil Wears Prada. Reach her at nicolengxinen@gmail.com.
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