Working from home throws work-life balance off-kilter


Autumn Taylor, Contributing Writer

Now that most of us are working from home, it’s important to differentiate work life from home life. This list of tips and tricks will help you maintain a healthy balance at home, whether you live in a dorm with roommates or an apartment alone. 

Get up and get dressed.

You’ve probably heard this a dozen times from your parents or professors, but it’s actually true. Having a routine gives you a sense of regularity and productivity in a semester that feels irregular. Waking up on a consistent schedule and getting dressed in the morning is a simple yet productive way to start your day. 

Don’t work in bed.

Now that you’re out of bed, stay out. Doing schoolwork from the comfort of your bed can be a difficult habit to break, especially if you’ve done it every semester so far. But this semester is not like the others. Not only does staying out of bed boost your overall productivity, it also keeps your rest space separate from your work space. Separation is key when working from home.

Set the scene.

Once you’ve established your designated work space without pillows and blankets, it is time to set the scene. Do not underestimate the art of imagination. Coffee shops have an ambiance that promotes studying, so try recreating that in your own home. Go to your kitchen, fix yourself a cup of coffee, find your perfect coffee shop playlist and pretend you are there instead of your dorm room. Spotify has a variety of study playlists to listen to. 

Change your environment. 

It can get old sitting in the same spot all day, especially if you’re used to running across the quad between classes. Though we can’t be on campus as much as we used to be, you can still change up your location at home. If you’ve been sitting at your desk all day, go to the kitchen table. If you have a patio or porch, go out there and enjoy the fresh air. The more you can do to shake things up, the less bored you’ll be.

Boredom kills productivity.

Create your own office hours.

It can be easy to both underwork and overwork if you aren’t careful. Try designating certain times of the day for different school activities. Reserve a couple of hours in the morning for watching Zoom lectures and taking notes and a few hours in the afternoon for catching up on homework and studying. Breaks are a must to keep from overwhelming yourself. This guarantees you don’t spend too much time on a single task and helps keep procrastination from sneaking up on you. 

Know when enough is enough.

While breaks are great, it is also valuable to know when to stop working for the day all together. If you’re consistently overdoing it, the quality of your work suffers, as does your mental health. Once your eyes get the heavy feeling and you’re finding it harder to focus, it’s time to clock out.

Practice self-care.

Once you have logged off for the day, your home is no longer your office. It’s time to stop stressing about school. Close that Google doc and take a breath. Take a hot shower, fix a nice dinner or spend time with your dog. Self-care is always a necessity, especially when life seems more stressful than usual.

Remember what makes you happy.

Whether it’s zoning out and watching Netflix or cozying up with a good book, do not forget to do what makes you happy. Your homebase is still your home, whether that’s an apartment or a dorm. If you want to get back into a hobby, do it. There is more than enough time in a day to be productive both academically and personally.

Have the right attitude.

Sometimes you just have to take life for what it is and celebrate the little victories. Take time to enjoy the things you can control and don’t worry about the things you can’t. Remember, we are in this together. Luckily for us, we live in the age of the internet. Call your friends, host virtual hangouts on Zoom and make the most out of the situation. And remember – you’ve got this.