If you’re looking for tips on maintaining a work-life balance while working online, you are in the right place. It can be so easy to get caught up in our work, to put in just a few more hours or to check our emails late into the night when it’s literally right at our fingertips.
Even if you absolutely love your work, taking a break is so important for your body and mind that, if you don’t, you’ll be forced to take a take time off eventually (which, of course, isn’t practical for freelancers and digital nomads).
Often, people are drawn to working remotely because it allows them to break free from the exhausting 9-5 lifestyle. We crave the time for relaxation and want to live a more fulfilled life where we can prioritize ourselves a bit more.
But, work-life balance is easier said than done and anyone working remotely or freelancing will quickly find that they need to shift their mindset to prioritize work-life balance. So, how can we manage this situation? Keep reading to find out!
Why Work-Life Balance is Important
For professional and personal reasons, it’s crucial to make time for work and play. Digital nomads are some of the hardest working people out there; being self-disciplined, adaptable, and good at problem-solving is a given if you want to make this lifestyle work.
With the hard work that comes with working online, breaks are necessary to avoid mental blocks and burnout. A healthy work-life balance also results in a 21% increase in productivity on average and a dramatic decrease in stress levels.
Here are some simple habits you can implement to help you maintain that work-life balance:
Remember, it can take your brain anywhere from two weeks to two months to fully adopt a new habit so make sure to stick with your new routine until it’s truly a part of your new way of life.
1) Implement an Enjoyable Morning Routine
Before your workday gets going, make time for yourself first thing in the morning. Be consistent with this routine so that it becomes natural and something you look forward to. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or require you to wake up earlier than you’d like.
Just consider, what’s something that makes you feel calm and motivated? This could be taking a stroll down the street, reading a book while sipping coffee, a twenty-minute yoga session, or taking a shower while listening to some energizing tunes.
2) Have a Designated Work Space
To actually maintain a work-life balance, work should be left at work. You’ll find that most of the advice given here goes back to this. If you are working from home, create a space that’s free of distraction that’s designated for work only.
If you’re a digital nomad and not settled in one place, have a few workplaces in mind, wherever you are, such as co-working spaces and cafes. You can also try to book accommodations that have a desk or table, or a hostel (these often have a space to sit with a computer).
You don’t need a fancy office to successfully work from home. However, you do need a space to live and relax that’s separate from your space to work.
3) Keep Distractions Away During Work
We just mentioned a workspace free of distractions. So, what does that really look like? If you’re thinking of a space that’s organized, away from the tv, and not surrounded by possible chores, you’re right! If it’s got natural light coming in, even better,
Depending on where you live or are staying (if you’re travelling), this may look different for everyone and that’s okay. Just make sure you resituate your space or find a workspace that works best for you.
It also never hurts to place your phone across the room for periods during your workday. Some great productivity apps to use if you’re struggling to limit your social media time include Forest and Offtime.
4) Create and Follow a Schedule
I find that when I’m sitting at my computer working all day, it’s easy to get off task or multitask. Create a schedule for work, and close your computer at the end of the workday. Schedule your priorities in order so that you can put off less important projects until the next day if you need to. And, don’t overschedule yourself!
This goes for doing things you enjoy, too. As we said, remote workers are very hard working! To ensure you don’t overwork yourself, make a schedule for your free time too. When will you spend time on your hobbies? When will you chill out? If you’re travelling, when will you spend time exploring?
It may sound silly, but there’s a better chance you’ll make the time for these things if they’re a part of your schedule. There are plenty of online schedulers you can use but there’s something quite satisfying in scratching something off a pen and paper list too.
5) Don’t Forget to Have a Social Life
This goes perfectly with scheduling activities you enjoy. Socializing doesn’t always come easy when you work online because you could always be doing more work or at least looking for new work.
Make a point to network and make/spend time with your friends. Making use of coworking spaces, Facebook groups, and fitness classes are a few ideal ways to meet people and socialize as a digital nomad.
6) Take Breaks Throughout the Day
When you make that schedule for yourself, include breaks! Don’t eat lunch at your computer. Take some time away for lunch to recharge. I, personally, also try to give myself a few minutes here and there to get some fresh air, tidy my workspace, and run errands (when I can).
This allows me to take a breather and I almost always come back to work with a clearer mind ready to cross more items off my to-do list!
7) Take Time Off
Most people who work online do some sort of work on their computer 6-7 days a week. This isn’t exactly the best work-life balance! It can be difficult to separate ourselves from work when our phone is going off and our computer is next to us.
Setting a day or two each week completely offline allows us to get the break we need and deserve. If returning to work after two days off seems overwhelming and you have a flexible schedule, take one day midweek and one day at the end of the week.
Aside from our weekends off, vacations give us a new sense of motivation. It also gives us time to step away from work and focus attention on other important things. Several studies have shown that taking vacations have both physical and psychological health benefits. Read more on that here.
8) Don’t Work in Bed
This one is essential, not only for quality work-life balance but also for getting a good night’s sleep. Your bedroom should be your place to rest, not a workplace. It can be very difficult to turn your brain off and relax if you aren’t able to leave work alone and, if you associate work with your bed, switching off becomes very difficult.
If you’re one to often check emails from your phone, consider disconnecting your work email from your phone (you probably won’t regret it) or using a temporary app blocker.
Remember to limit screens at least an hour before you go to sleep so ensure you’re ready for bed when you need to be.
There are so many benefits to working online. One of these is that it gives you more flexibility and the opportunity to live a life you enjoy. The key is setting yourself up for the work-life balance you’re probably craving and certainly deserve. Get that morning routine down, create a schedule, and don’t forget to socialize!
For more on working online, check out our tips and tricks for efficiently working from home.