Self

12 Women Share Their Best WFH Work-Life Balance Strategies

#5: Work from bed — with limits.

Nenad Stojnev /E+/Getty Images

The start of the new year is prime time to be thinking about your habits: the ones you like, the ones you’d rather shed, or the ones you never kicked into high gear in the first place. One perennially relevant habit is maintaining more work-life balance, particularly if you work from home. A 2020 survey of how the pandemic has affected remote work found that 47% of current remote workers found their work and personal lives were more blended together than previously, and 70% say working remotely caused at least “somewhat significant” changes to their daily routine.

No one *wants* to be working all the time, but it can be difficult to switch off when your workspace is your living room couch, or your coworker is your roommate and they haven’t done the dishes they said they would. Keeping up with your work-life balance is also a noted mental health booster, since it helps people manage their stress.

There’s no time like the present to refresh habits that are no longer serving you. Finding a bit more work-life balance can help make the WFH life a bit less stressful. Here, 12 women share their strategies to make their workdays go a lot more smoothly.

1
Put Time Off On The Calendar

“I block off time on my work calendar if I’m planning to run or do any other personal errands/tasks so my colleagues know I’m unavailable. I also keep my phone on 'Do Not Disturb' mode a lot.” — Tracy, 36

2
Force Yourself Away From Screens

“I walk my dogs during lunchtime to get out and have a set lunchtime. I also mark my calendar off for two breaks during the day to give my body, mind, and eyes a rest. Finally, I create many sub-goals and when I’ve finished one, I reward myself with a break and snack.” — Shari, 26

3
Split Up Household Duties

“My husband and I both work from home and have for years. We have a work schedule and a parenting schedule. When we are working, we 'are not there.' The other parent is 100% in charge of house/kids. When we’re with the kids, no work is allowed. We also take a full day off as a family day and each get a half day to ourselves to do whatever we want: work, run, kayak, food shopping, whatever.” — Erica, 42

4
Keep Separate Spaces For Work & Meals

“I work only at my desk and have all meals at the table and not at my desk. I also take daily walks outside or exercise, along with doing daily journaling.” — Michelle, 39

5
Work From Bed — With Limits

“I only allow myself to do creative work such as designing prototypes, coming up with ideas, or writing from bed if I’m not feeling great, and for two hours, tops. Working in bed isn't very productive for me, but it is comforting and sometimes that's what I need more. I also only allow myself to do calls from the sofa, but not actual work. Additionally, I take a daily one-hour lunch break with no screens, along with daily walks (even in rain or snow) and close my laptop by 6:30.” — Tess, 29

6
Physically Separate Yourself From Distractions

“I have a five-month-old baby at home, so I get up an hour before the baby to exercise. I have strict working hours: 8-4 or 5 depending on the day. I’ve set up my office in a shed so I am physically separated from the house to minimize distractions when I am working.” — Amy, 36

7
Dress For The Day

“In addition to only doing work at my desk, I’ve started going for a walk during lunch and after work. Turn everything off completely once the workday is over. I also always dress as if I was going to the office, with loungewear only allowed afterward and during the weekend.” — Jennie, 37

8
Take Advantage Of Alone Time

“I’m new to the WFH game because of COVID. I shut it down as soon as kids get home. I also exercise as soon as my husband and kids leave around 6:45 a.m. to ease into the day instead of commuting.” — Larkin, 33

9
Set A Schedule

“I'm pretty strict with myself about when I can run (not during work time, so I do so in the 5:30/6-7a.m. window only) because my hours are so limited w/ lack of full-time school for my kids right now.” —Amanda, 38

10
Block Off Your Day

“I make sure I’m not working in bed or on the couch and block time off for meals and exercise while generously using 'do not disturb.' I’ve been working from home for three years and live alone, so it’s super easy to get sucked in to ALWAYS working.” — Stevie, 32

11
Turn Off Notifications

“I’ve started putting my phone on 'do not disturb' earlier (in addition to turning work notifications off) and working hard to get eight hours of sleep now. This change has made a big difference when there are other things I can’t control. I’ve also started working with a running coach to give me the accountability to get up everyday & move before work.” — Jenna, 31

12
No Screens During Meals

“I have a hard rule of no screens at dinner and turn off notifications during non-work hours. I also set a reminder to stop working at a certain time and take turns with my spouse for childcare related needs. Otherwise, I’m terrible at balance and it feels like I’m always 'on' and always falling short.” — Kelly, 43