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Flexible working schedules mean taking more care of work-life balance

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While there are many advantages to flexible working schedules, many people have also found that working from home can make it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Bringing your work into your living space means it may be harder to disengage mentally from your job at the end of the day. Because so much remote flexible working requires online communication, you may also feel increasing pressure to be logged on and available even outside your regular working hours.

Work-life balance tips for flexible working schedules

Fortunately, there are many simple but effective ways to draw clear boundaries between your work and your personal time, even if you work from home. The following tips can help remote workers develop a healthy work-life balance on flexible working schedules.

Take Frequent Breaks

For many, increased productivity is a major reason they’ve come to prefer partial or fully flexible working schedules. Eliminating the time you’d ordinarily spend commuting to the office, walking to and from meetings, and interacting face-to-face with colleagues gives you more time to spend on your actual tasks for the day. On the other hand, depending on your personality and working style, working uninterrupted throughout the day can also be stressful, overwhelming, or just downright boring.

Strange as it may sound, stepping away from your desk for a few minutes each day can actually make you more focused and motivated when it’s time to get things done. Some people, for instance, set aside part of their day to attend to personal errands like exercising, cooking, or cleaning. Others may find it helpful to spend their breaks doing activities that help relieve stress, like journaling or relaxation.

If you’re religious or spiritual, making time for prayer throughout the day can help calm and focus your mind. Prayer apps such as the Muslim Pro app can remind you of appropriate prayer times, and they also provide auditory prompts and scripture readings to bring some helpful structure to the experience. Those curious about what other features these apps contain and what their users’ experiences have been like can follow the app on Twitter and other social media for more ideas.

Create a Dedicated Workspace

Working from home undeniably opens up a lot more avenues for distraction than working in an office does. For one thing, you don’t have your colleagues nearby to motivate—and at times pressure—you to stay on-task. For another thing with flexible working schedules, many other things at home may clamor for your attention throughout the day. Without even meaning to, you may find yourself folding laundry, cleaning up after your pet, or even starting a new TV series when you really should be spending the day working.

Resist the temptation to work from spaces that you usually occupy during your leisure time, such as your couch, bedroom, or kitchen island. Not only will doing so make it easier for you to get distracted, but it will also be harder for you to rest in those spaces if you start associating them with work. You can set yourself up to be more focused and productive if you define a specific workspace that’s set apart from the rest of your home. If you have the space, this can be a fully separate home office, but even just relegating all your work tasks and materials to a dedicated desk can do wonders.

Set a Daily Schedule

In the same vein as defining a distinct workspace, it will benefit both your productivity and peace of mind to define a regular work schedule and do your best to stick to it on flexible working days. Once you begin flexible working schedules, talk with your employers about how many hours you’re expected to work per day, and define a specific start time and end time for your work days. That way, you’ll have a clear sense of which parts of the day you can use for personal pursuits like rest, housework, and socialization.

It’s probably also productive to communicate your hours to your teammates and any other people you’ll be working with. Knowing when exactly you’ll be available to discuss work-related concerns will help them be more mindful and respectful of your personal time.

Ease Yourself In and Out of “Work Mode”

Not needing to commute to work eliminates a host of inconveniences like dealing with traffic and spending on transportation. However, our daily commutes did also serve the important purpose of giving us time to prepare mentally at the beginning of the workday, as well as time to decompress once the day was over.

If you’re no longer traveling to work frequently or at all, you’ll have to find new ways to shift gears in and out of a work-centric mindset. Performing certain rituals like changing your clothes, taking a walk, or eating a meal at the beginning and the end of the day may serve as helpful flexible working buffers for this purpose.

Conclusion

Setting healthy boundaries between work and personal time can be challenging for flexible working schedules, but it’s well worth the effort to do so. A good work-life balance will not only make you more productive at your job, but it will also ensure you have ample time and energy to spend on other fulfilling pursuits, such as spending time with loved ones and exploring personal interests.

 

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