Balancing work & life in the new norm (part 1).

The new norm – now in its second year – seems to be here to stay. Some of us may have just re-entered lockdown again, while some of us started working from home in 2020 and never stopped.

Whatever the situation, balancing work and home life while working from home can be a challenge – but it’s a challenge that can be surmounted. In fact, once we accept the appropriate perimeters and put them in place.

1. The right mindset.

The first thing we need to do is have the right mindset. We still have a home life, we also still have a home life – what is happening is we’re integrating work into our home setting.

If we’re living on our own or with housemates, perhaps this integration may come more easily. We wouldn’t have family or dependents at home that unexpectedly find us always there. But if we do have family or friends or dependents sharing our home space, then we need to have the right mindset.

Firstly, we ourselves need to understand that we are working – just at home. Therefore, we need to be prepared to work. Secondly, we need to be prepared to firmly set boundaries.

Setting boundaries doesn’t necessarily begin with the other person, it begins with us. From my own experience, when I used to work in my parents’ home or at the hospital when my mother was admitted, I would be much more focused on their needs than my own.

That needs to some rethinking. Even though other people may have needs, if I don’t work, I don’t get paid. My dependents’ needs won’t go towards paying for my bills. So even though I may be around for emergencies, I may need to be clear to myself that I need to work.

When this mind shift takes place, expressing to others that you are working and cannot be disturbed comes more easily.

2. Get organised.

Once we’re clear that we are working, just from home, we need to get organised.

First, we take a look at our schedule, and then see our home requirements – this could be anything from changing the baby diapers to feeding the cat. Then, set out those timings and schedules based on your own work schedule.

If possible, get others living in the house to help out as well, take turns with your spouse or get a rotation going for the whole family.

For work, it’s best to plan to do similar work at the same time – for example, all writing work at the same time, or all organising work at the same time.

Unfortunately, this routine or flow may be interrupted by “priority matters” or “emergencies” by your bosses, clients or colleagues. Make the necessary adjustments with equanimity: using principles of grounding / letting go / expansion to move forward with clarity and calm.

3. Include yourself.

When you organise, don’t forget to include your own time into the schedule. This includes your own meals, your own downtime and your own time for self-care.

Make sure you set yourself up well with a good morning routine. Stay excited for an evening routine coming up soon!

It’s really like the airplane safety information – we need to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before we can care for others. So really, remember that we are working, just from home.

Comment below if this post has helped you, or ask me if you need any further help.

Stay tuned for part two coming in a fortnight’s time!