Even though remote work is a new fad, there’s much more to it than just working from anywhere in the world. Apart from having your own schedule, you also have to sustain a healthy work-life balance, and it’s not that easy. If you’re working remotely, but cannot find the perfect balance between work and leisure, you’re not alone.
Work-life balance is one of the biggest problems of decentralized employees, and we’re about to tell you how to solve it. At Zima Media, we have seven team members scattered all around the world, and each of us has invaluable tips on how to balance work and life.
What Is Work-Life Balance & Why Is It So Important?
Yes, working remotely is all cool until you burn out so much that you cannot do it anymore. It’s so easy to get sucked into working all day long that some people forget the fact that they still have a social life.
Let me be clear: being hard-working is a fantastic trait of any remote employee. However, if you overdo it, sooner or later you’ll start noticing side effects.
Since we’re all human beings, social interactions are vital for our well-being. As much as you’d want to do a little bit more of work today, you have to set strict guidelines for yourself.
We know it’s hard to draw the line between work and life when your laptop is always there waiting for you to open it, check emails, respond to Slack messages, jump on a call, or just write down some ideas.
But you have to remember: you’re now the one setting your schedule, so make sure you’re not harming yourself when setting it up.
Here are some signs that indicate you need changes:
#1 You wake up and check your work messages straight away
Living from work message to work message is never good. Give yourself some time to wake up, have a cup of coffee/tea, eat breakfast, exercise, or talk to your family. If you start your day on a positive note, you’ll most likely set a pleasant mood for the rest of it.
#2 You feel guilty not working every minute while you’re at home
As I said earlier, it’s incredible to be motivated to work a lot and see the results. However, you need to remember that remote work is like any other job, but from home or a coworking space. If you had to spend 12 hours at the office as a regular on-premise employee, you’d probably wear yourself out pretty fast. So, why do it while working remotely?
#3 You feel isolated and lonely
When you start working remotely, you have to accept the fact that you won’t be able to meet your teammates, managers, or clients in person every single day. But it doesn’t mean you should be by yourself all the time.
Take work breaks and go for a coffee with your friends, or just walk around and refresh your mind. Also, don’t forget that you can always have a video chat with your team or simply spend time with your family. You chose to work remotely to be more flexible, so take advantage of it.
#4 You feel like you cannot get anything done
Being organized is the key to successful remote work results. So, whether you want it or not, you’ll have to get yourself together and create a schedule. The thing is, it’s too easy to get distracted when working from home: unlimited snacks in the fridge, messaging with friends, Netflix, comfy bed, you name it.
Only when you define your work and leisure hours, will you be able to finally start measuring how effective you are during the day and how much you have accomplished.
8 Work-Life Balance Tips
“How do you manage work-life balance?” is probably one of the most frequently asked questions I get. Honestly, it took me a while to get where I am with my remote work lifestyle, and you can check out my story to learn more about it.
Over time, I have learned one thing for sure: the more you work remotely, the better you get at managing your work-life balance. So, here are some of the most valuable tips and hacks for a better work-life balance.
Define the hours when you’re the most productive.
It’s vital to measure your productivity levels throughout the day. If you’re the most productive in the morning, do all the challenging tasks at that time. If you’re a night owl, leave them for the evening and do some other things in the morning. There’s no point working when you lack focus, motivation, and creativity.
Don’t work where you sleep.
Yes, it’s very tempting to work from bed but try to avoid it as much as you can. If you don’t want to feel like you’re obliged to work every second of your life, it’s critical to have a separate workspace. It can be hard to do while on the road, so make sure you take advantage of cafes or coworking spaces. Whatever you choose, ensure that work stays at your workspace and nowhere else.
Communicate with your team.
Since you don’t have the privilege to see your coworkers every day, take advantage of communicating with them online. Share your ideas, discuss trending topics, exchange memes, GIFs, video chat. It will make it easier for you to become a part of the remote culture and realize that you aren’t alone.
Don’t forget about social life.
With the remote work lifestyle, it might be hard to stay connected with your nearest and dearest, especially if you’re traveling around the world. That’s why it’s a good idea to visit various networking events, meet like-minded people at coworking spaces, or go on dates. Remote work gives you so much flexibility, and it’d be a crime not to use it in your favor.
Be responsible, but at the same time, don’t overwhelm yourself with work. Remember, you have to enjoy what you do to do it well. So, let your brain relax between complicated tasks, and you’ll notice how your routine improves every day. You’re a human being like everyone else, not a robot.
Don’t abandon your hobbies.
You go remote to be able to do the things you like more, not otherwise. Now, you’re the boss of your time. Go for that 11 am Zumba class (P.S. we won’t tell anyone), jog when the streets are empty (because everyone is at the office), catch happy hours at restaurants (they’re always so random, right?). The main point is, if you organize your day properly, you’ll be amazed at how much you can manage.
Learn something new.
Even if you’re the best at what you do, it’ll never hurt to get new skills. Not only will it boost your imagination, but also make your daily life more interactive and meaningful. Plus, a lot of remote employers encourage their employees to learn more to enhance their chances of being promoted. For instance, at Zima Media, we ask our remote workers to spend three hours per week on a side project of their choice.
Implement good transparency.
20 Time Tracking Tricks
We’ve asked entrepreneurs from different industries to tell us their tricks to track time and stay organized when working remotely. Scroll down and find out which ones can help you manage your time and work-life balance better.
#1 Disconnect for real
#2 Set screentime limits
#3 Try the Pomodoro Technique
#4 Track both your time and productivity
#5 Use web plugins
#6 Schedule everything
#7 Cheat on Fridays once a month
#8 Put family first
#9 Do not work on a plane
#10 Try using Harvest app
#11 Take care of your Digital Diet
#12 Lock yourself out of the computer
#13 Build a habit stacking routine
#14 Integrate Toggl with other apps
#15 Create background noise to focus
#16 Use Parkinson’s law
#17 Ignore the rules
#18 Do not push yourself too much
#19 Sign up for a regular activity
#20 Track time with Spotify playlists
Work-life balance is essential for those who’re working remotely and don’t want to burn out too soon. So, you have to do everything possible to make it work for yourself. Adhere to your schedule, socialize with your friends and family, chat with your colleagues, engage yourself in exciting side projects, because you’re the one in charge of your time now.
At first, it might be hard to draw a line between where your work ends and life starts. But eventually, remote work should give you more freedom to do anything you like from any part of the world. If you try to follow these work-life balance tips and techniques, you’ll see that remote work can bring you more joy than you’d ever expected.