During quarantine, some of us were working from home for weeks, months, and eventually over a year. Each workday would present unique challenges ranging from setting up our Zoom backgrounds to rearranging our furniture in order to make room for suitable workspace. One challenge that many women faced was setting up boundaries for a healthy work-life balance. As more women prepare to re-enter physical workspaces, how can we strike an ideal work-life balance?
Get Back into a Morning Rhythm
Re-establishing a daily morning routine is key to getting ready to head back to work. Naturally, having a commute to and from our workspaces will require that we once again buffer in preparation and travel time. Here are some steps to restart a morning routine:
Set your morning alarm...again. Practice makes perfect. The sooner you start re-adjusting to your morning schedule, the better prepared you will be for the transition. Whether it is the smell of a cup of coffee or a phone alarm, get back to waking up at your usual time.
Mimic your commute. Whether you have a 15- or 90-minute commute, gradually build the travel time into your morning schedule.
Block out time for prayer and reflection. As you build your schedule, remember to keep some quiet prayer and reflection time. Begin your workday with gratitude by giving thanks for another day, pray for strength to meet today’s challenges, and reflect on what you experience in prayer. If you need some inspiration, check out this morning prayer from The SundayMonday.
Know Your Peak Hours
Do you know the difference between important work and busywork? When are you most effective at accomplishing difficult tasks during the workday?
As author Sarah Green Carmichael states in the Harvard Business Review, we should strive to have “a clear dividing line between important work and busywork.” When you understand your peak hours (your most productive working hours) you can plan your schedule to align with your productivity - and avoid burnout. Off-peak hour activities could include busywork or less intensive work such as going through emails, getting to know your colleagues, or taking a work-related skills course.
Plan Activities for After Work
Setting up work-life boundaries means placing value both in your workday and your after-work life. Entrepreneur Jayson Demers states that when it comes to having a healthier work-life balance, “The key is to do something completely unrelated to work that gives you something to look forward to every day.” When you have a chance to unplug and put the work assignments away, look to your favorite hobbies or visit places that bring you comfort.
During quarantine, social media was flooded with people trying new recipes or showcasing views from their latest hike. Are there any hobbies you’ve picked up while in quarantine? Plan your after-work schedule to include activities that bring you peace or energize you. When the going gets tough, that after-work activity you plan will be the light at the end of the cubicle tunnel.