Whilst I love working from home and wouldn’t change it for the world, one of the traps is it’s really hard to switch off when your work and home life are so intertwined.
I used to be particularly terrible at this and have been known to check my emails at 1am on the way back from checking on master 4! Not because I was frantically busy or expecting an important email – just because the PC was right there in front of me, and I hadn’t learnt to switch off at the end of the day and step away.
I was even called on this by a number of clients who had received emails from me in the middle of the night and become worried that they were overloading me or that I was so frantically busy that I needed to work until all hours of the night. You’re weren’t. I didn’t.
After a while I found that constantly being in “work mode” was beginning to affect my motivation levels throughout the week, as well as the amount of quality time I was spending with my family. I realised something needed to change and instituted these steps to bring my work/life balance back into check:
- Giving myself a daily ‘knock off’ time of 5:30pm
- Moving all of my office/work equipment into a separate room of the house, closing the door at ‘knock off’ time and not allowing myself to re-enter until the next work day
- Not working at all on weekends or public holidays, except under special circumstances
- Being very strict about not checking emails on my iPhone during the night, or on weekends. I can’t bring myself to remove my email accounts from my phone altogether, but when I find myself thinking… “I’ll just check my emails…” at midnight I’m mentally smacking myself beside the head!
Now I love my business and my clients and I work very hard to ensure that I am available to everybody when they need me, but I’m of the strong belief that by allowing myself these breaks and “me time” periods I will be a much better support to them. After all, a well-rested and happy VA is a more motivated and efficient VA and somebody you want to have on your team!
Do you work from home and have trouble switching from work mode to family mode? If you’ve got any tips for implementing change, I’d love to hear from you!