If you’re a bit of a workaholic it’s often difficult to determine how you should be spending your time in-between stints of office interactions. Even if you’re not used to working 24/7 like some professionals, you may find that maintaining a work-life balance while working from home is difficult, especially post-pandemic.
In the remote working industry, you can often feel as though you should be doing something productive after work, even when your day is technically finished. While there’s nothing wrong with relaxing when you need to, there are a handful of things you can do with your time after work if you want to make the most of it.
Here are some ideas.
Have Some You-Time
It’s tempting to rush into spending as much time as you can with your loved ones after you’re done with work. For some people, this will be the best way to use their time after work, but for others, it can lead to problems. After all, while we might hate the commute to work, the commute back home does give us time to decompress and process the day. Remote workers don’t have that commute which can lead to problems when maintaining a work-life balance is a priority.
Having ten minutes to yourself where you can wind down and think about what you’re going to do for the rest of the night can help. This is particularly important when working at home, so you don’t take the stress you have at work into the family dynamic. You can use your “you-time” however you like. For some people, the best option will be to listen to relaxing music. Others prefer things like exercising. Experiment to find what works for you.
Create a Plan
Ideally, you’ll be finishing your working day at a specific time – even when working from home. Working from home when you should be relaxing might feel productive, but most of the time it simply leads to increased stress and burnout.
About ten minutes before the end of each workday, sit down and get your desire to continue working out of your head by planning what you’re going to do tomorrow. Having a to-do list of everything you need to cover can reduce your anxiety, by letting you know you’ve assigned the right amount of time to every task.
Writing down your plan is also a great way to get any concerns out of your mind so you can move on to your personal life without feeling like you might have forgotten something. Maintaining a work-life balance means having a plan to keep your work life and your home life separate.
Know Your Priorities
No matter how much you love your job, a lot of your life will happen outside of working hours. This is the time when you’re going to be making memories and enjoying the good stuff in life – so use it wisely. If you want to utilize your time effectively, know your priorities.
It’s up to you to determine what matters most in your world. For some people, it will be spending time with the family and watching their children grow up. For others, the most important thing might be preserving friendships and other relationships.
After you’ve focused on building your relationships, consider what else is important to you – such as your physical health, hobbies, and activities you enjoy. Writing a list of all the things that really matter to you can make it easier to assign your time correctly.
Avoid Major Sources of Stress
While you might not be able to spend your life avoiding all forms of stress, you can at least reduce your risk of feeling overwhelmed by common causes of anxiety. For instance, many people find it difficult to watch the news – particularly during times of crisis, like the pandemic. If you’re already feeling stressed, it might be a good idea to skip the news one night and do something more relaxing.
The best thing you can do after work might not be consistent every day. Sometimes, you’ll find it’s helpful to follow a specific routine of checking out social media, responding to emails, or just relaxing with the family. Other days, you might want to focus more on something specific, like using a hobby to unwind after a particularly stressful workday.
When stress levels are already high in your life, avoid making them worse with things you know will cause anxiety.
Give Yourself a Break
Finally, don’t fall victim to the notion you need to plan every part of your life, from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. You don’t have to be doing something valuable 24/7 to make the most of your life. It’s up to you to decide how you want to use your time. If you’re happy, then you’re making the right choices, even if that means you’re just sitting on the couch for an afternoon.