Work-life balance has become the Holy Grail for those who seek to have a more cohesive work life and family life. One big step towards having your work-life balance in, well, balance, is by having work flexibility. Whether you have a telecommuting job, a flexible work schedule, a part-time job (or are looking for one!), work flexibility plays a huge factor in being an invested employee and happier with your home life.
But even if you have a telecommuting job, is work-life balance achievable? Writer Jess Vyvial-Larson recently shared her experiences with having a remote job but still struggling to find that ever-elusive work-life balance in her personal story, “Can You Ever Find Work-Life Balance?”. It turns out that work-life balance is easier to achieve when you work from home, but it is still something you have to continuously work at in order to be successful. Here are some of her tips to be in better balance.
Time your tasks. Most people underestimate how long certain tasks will take them. But allotting less time to getting things done (and later discovering that it took you double the time to do it) can create a very stressful work environment for you. So do your best to be realistic when budgeting your time to complete assignments. That way, you’ll get your work done at a pace that is comfortable for you sans pressure.
Expect the unexpected. On the morning of your big presentation, your kid runs a 102-degree fever. That means that he’ll be home—and you’ll be the official nursemaid. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean that the unexpected won’t happen. It’s best to always have a back-up plan (such as babysitters you can call in a pinch), in case something goes wrong. Because inevitably, it will.
Accept your limitations. Saying sayonara to your in-office job means not having that killer three-hour daily commute. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to jam-pack 40 items on your to-do list into that window of time, either. It’s important to remember that you aren’t superhuman and that there can and will be times when things will slip through the cracks. If you start feeling stressed, that’s a good time to step back and revaluate your workload. Maybe you’ve taken on too much in an attempt to please your boss. See what really needs to be done, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Be kind to yourself—and others. You send a sunny email to your boss first thing Monday morning—and get a surly response in return. Before you start doing a mental checklist of every possible thing you could have done wrong, take time to pause and breathe. Maybe your boss’ reaction wasn’t as bad as you first thought. Most likely, though, your boss’ ‘tude probably has absolutely nothing to do with you. So before you jump the gun and assume that you’ve done something wrong, take the time to be kind to yourself and to your fellow remote colleagues, too.
Have a sense of humor. Let’s face it—mistakes happen. You delete an important email. You phone in to the all-staff meeting from your kid’s kindergarten chorus concert and the entire staff hears a rousing rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” when you unmute your phone. While you should always strive to be responsible, it’s likely there are going to be times when you drop the ball. And it’s okay. So if you goof up, the best way to handle it is to have a sense of humor about the situation—and then rectify it immediately.
Work-life balance is achievable, but it is something that is perpetually changing depending on the day. The best way to achieve it when you work from home is to work hard, be realistic, have a sense of humor, and be happy when everything (and everyone) is in balance, if only for today.
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