How To Balance Work & Life While Working From Your Living Room Office


Maintaining a healthy work-life balance was difficult enough when we had to get up every day and physically travel to the office. Now that many of us are working from home, it can seem almost impossible.

When your home is the same setting for both work and life, it’s easy for the line between the two to get a little blurry. If home is your office and you’re always home, without clear boundaries it can start to feel like you’re always at the office.

Today, we’re going to share a few tips, tricks and ways to maintain a healthy balance between work and life while working at home.

Morning Routine

Start your morning with a routine that has nothing to do with work. Dedicating the beginning of your day to self-care can help you start it on the right foot. It sends a signal to yourself and those around you about what your true priorities are.

Here are a few things you might want to ritualize before you start grinding your working gears for the day:

  • Prepare a nutritious breakfast with a delicious coffee.
  • Perform a brief exercise routine to stretch your body and get your blood flowing.
  • Leave your phone behind, and let your mind wander while you go for a short walk.
  • Have a soothing morning shower accompanied by your favorite playlist or podcast.
  • If you’re working with children at home, put your phone on silent and spend some time catching up with them.

No Work Emails in Bed

Make it a rule that work and bed will never touch. Even if you love checking your social media as soon as you wake up, stay away from your work accounts at least until your feet touch the floor.

Now that your work laptop is literally just a few feet away, you may even want to ask yourself, “Do I really need my work email connected to my phone?” If you can’t think of a good reason to keep your work a few inches from you at all times, instead of a few feet, try deleting the work email app on your phone.

Just like you wouldn’t dream of bringing your home life to the office, you don’t need to bring the office to bed. Designate your bed and a few other spaces in your home as hallowed temples of living where work may not enter.

Separate Space

The same way that watching Netflix or cooking breakfast in the office seems to cheapen it, bringing work into your home can dilute your home life. Even if your work and your life are technically in the same building now, putting some kind of token physical barrier between the two will help you to separate them in your mind.

Designate a specific office space in your home that you only use to focus on work. Even if you use a corner of another room, it’s helpful to demarcate the space in a way that signals a change of atmosphere. Once you’ve made a special office-land in your home, don’t go anywhere near it when you’re not working.

Start and End

There are a lot of downsides of physically going to work, but we think having specific start and end times isn’t one of them. Now that you’re working from home, bring those clearly defined time limits with you.

Set an alarm or write your future self a post-it note telling them when to quit. Give yourself clear boundaries with an understanding that if you haven’t finished something by quitting time, you can finish it tomorrow.

Without solid start and end times, it’s easy to find work creeping into parts of your life where it is unwanted. Give yourself time to focus on your kids, your hobbies, your friends and your personal well-being by making a home work schedule and sticking to it.

Lunch Break

Back when you used to go to work, you probably also used to take a break around midday for lunch. Maybe you ate lunch while you met with clients, or maybe you picked up a sandwich and got lost in your thoughts. We think taking a break around the halfway point and changing activities is an idea you should take home with you.

Your lunch break is like a comma in the middle of a long sentence. It allows you take a breath and pause for a second to reset and recharge so you can come back and finish with renewed energy. It also gives you something to look forward to during the difficult first half of the work day.

Retrofit Your Meeting Space

If you regularly meet with your work colleagues at your home, whether in person or on a video call, make sure the space or background is oriented toward work. Just like bringing work emails to bed can muddy your life balance, having your kids’ dirty clothes in the background of a work call can muddy your work balance.

Try to minimalize the personal items that you keep in your work meeting space. Take hobby items like your guitar or your pool table out of the picture. A few photos of your family won’t hurt, but try to surround yourself mostly with office-related trappings.

Exercise Routine

When you had to leave the house to go to work, you probably found it easier to add other out-of-house activities like going to the gym. Now that you’re at home all day, your fitness routine may be in the lost-and-found drawer.

Set aside a specific time of day when you commit to getting some exercise. This may be easy if you’re fascinated by some sport or other physical activity, but if not, you can reward yourself for doing the difficult thing anyway. Make a rule that you can only watch your favorite show or eat that chocolate chip cookie if you’ve completed your exercise routine for that day.

Have a Life!

The best way to keep your work-life balance is to plan post-work life activities that you love doing, and then do them. If you find your work is taking up too much space in your head, start learning something interesting that isn’t work related, or take up a hobby that fascinates you.

If you’re working with children at home, just as important as keeping them out of your work area is including them after the work day is over. Doing something with your children that you enjoy is the best way to keep unwelcome work thoughts out of your head.

When you have an interesting life to get back to after work, it will be much easier to stop working at the end of the day. Work hard when you work, but then stop, put your work down and enjoy your life.