Daily Dose of Design: The Fine Line Between Work and Life When You Work from Home

Friday, May 12, 2017

The Fine Line Between Work and Life When You Work from Home


Many of you know that since graduating college last spring, I've been blogging full-time. Along with a fun little side hustle of VA work/social media managing, blogging is my full-time gig and I couldn't be any more in love with what I do! Never did I imagine that this would be my work AND fun, but now that it is I'm grateful every day. But besides all the sappy stuff, the truth of the matter is that when I have busy days, I have BUSY days. Every day is busy, but some more than others and let's be honest - some I'm more motivated and productive than others. ;) Now while working for myself means that being busy is a good thing, it's still often hard to recognize where exactly that super fine line between your life and your work is. Some days I work at my dining room table, others I'm at my desk (I really need to work on that!). I even find myself getting work done at all hours of the day - I break when I can and while I don't hate that, I know how important it is to prevent burn out or feeling anything but love for my job.

If you're anything like this, you know all too well that work doesn't always end - you more so take a "break" to grab dinner or go run errands or once in a while, sleep. I always find myself watching TV at night and paying half attention to Scandal as I write a post or finish some work, then have to re-watch because I didn't allow myself some down time - anyone else?! Side note: if you're a fellow Gladiator, you know all too well you can't miss a second of that show!!

Finding a happy medium between where you draw the "work" line each day isn't easy, but I know I can't be the only one in these shoes so I put together some of the ways that have helped me to make it easier to recognize said line and not go beyond it. It's helped me focus, take my work time to actually GET things done more efficiently, re-evaluate each day's goals and most importantly, continue to love what I do every single day!


I take time to do what I love that isn't blogging/work related. Blogging is what I think about literally 24/7 - new post ideas, what's working/not strategy wise, networking with my blogging friends (#blessed) and whatever else is going on in the ever changing blog world; but other things I LOVE to do are go for runs (ok fast walks, let's be honest) and getting fresh air, family time, catching up on my favorite shows, dinner with friends, shopping (obvi), the list goes on but you get the picture! Before, I'd always just tell myself that this kind of free time would happen when it could - when my to do list had everything crossed off, I'd get to have that free time. But that time wasn't coming - my to-do lists were overwhelming me and I was making unreasonable daily goals. I stopped all of that, made reasonable goals, got the most important things done first and immediately saw a huge difference. Now in my free time if I decide I want to write a blog post or shoot some pictures, I don't feel rushed and LOVE to do it.

I multitask, but not enough that it makes me unproductive. I know that everyone and their mothers brothers aunts and cousins says that multitasking makes you less productive and doesn't do anything but hurt your productivity, but does anyone agree that that isn't always the case? I almost always have some sort of background noise/something going on while I work. I can't work in silence - just like I could never study in pure silence when I'd prepare for a test in school. It's totally different for everyone, but I know it can't just be me!

If there's a series I'm binging on Netflix or a Housewives reunion I missed that week, I watch it while I get things done. If it's something that doesn't need my full focus or just serves as background noise, I find it helpful to my productivity. I know this isn't for everyone, but it's worth a try if you're struggling! The same goes for being able to get things on your list crossed off - if you're able to multitask, it's worth a shot!

Once 8 PM hits, I tell myself any work from here on out is because I WANT to do it tonight. If it can wait until tomorrow and I'm still working on it after 8 PM, it's because I want to - not because I waited all day to do it and have to now. Granted it happens and some nights require longer hours, but overall setting this time to be "done" has improved how I get things done AND how I classify when it's work time and when it's well, anything but that. ;)

Using a timer helps me get things done at a faster pace without getting distracted. I've talked about this a little bit before, but setting a timer on my phone for anything really helps me get things done SO much quicker. I don't get as distracted because I'm competitive AF and like to beat the clock and don't focus so much on surrounding noises/distractions. I know I said I like to multitask, but some things require your undivided attention, of course!

I give myself breaks throughout the day. If it's lunch time, I watch some TV and enjoy my food. I don't answer emails and I don't focus on work for that 20-30 minutes. This is another catch-22 (kind of) because sometimes I do eat and work, but the more often I give myself a REAL lunch break, the more often I feel motivated to get back to work afterwards. Taking breaks is *so* important and realistically, it's something you'd do even if you did (or do!) work in an office environment. There's nothing worse than running on a hamster wheel non-stop for hours on end. It's not realistic and the more you try to work that way, the more burnt out you'll be.


The very best part about working for yourself is that you are your own boss. You make the rules, you decide what's what and you're in control. That's hands down one of the most rewarding things if you ask me! To keep up the great work, have a great playlist by your side. Here's what I'm listening to right now over and over (and over again):


As much as we love what we do, having a clear line - no matter how fine that line may be - between LIFE and work is crucial to success. The more I practice it, the more I believe it and realize just how true it is. Life is too short to be tied up with your computer, so figure out what works for you and get sh*t done so you can enjoy all the benefits of being your own boss.

I'm always looking for ways to improve on my daily work/life balance, so if you have anything you'd add I would LOVE to hear it!

XOXO -A

31 comments:

  1. Breaks are key to being productive! I use a timer on the days I can't focus!

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  2. I work part time from home too and I find that taking that time out for lunch is so important! I get so bogged down in eating whilst working so I don't take a break - I'm trying to work on having actual guilt-free lunchtime breaks more often

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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  3. These tips are so spot on for staying focused and productive. I think setting a timer really helps and though I don't work from home I do multi task at home all the time. My boyfriend owns a business and though he has an office he often works at home in the evenings so I can see how it is really difficult to create a work/life separation when you work for yourself.

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  4. I work from home dong admin work and I totally feel you on all of this! Some days I can handle everything while others are crazy busy! It's so important to make time for breaks and set those working hour limits. I love your point about doing work after 8pm - it's because you want to do it, not because you have to most of the time.

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  5. Balance is so important here. I work from home and most times, I try to base my schedule off my husband's. He's military so his schedule is very set in stone whereas mine is very flexible so it works well. He comes home from work around 5:30 and from there, I try to transition to "down time" where I'm just relaxing with him and getting dinner done and things like that. By 8pm, though, all electronics are put away. No questions asked. From 8pm until bed, it's 100% uninterrupted time together. It works super well for us so we can keep that balance! :) and I take tons of breaks throughout the day as well so I can have lunch with a friend or hit the gym for an hour.

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  6. Haha totally related to "fast walking" - it's true it's always a matter of finding balance that makes sense to you! I shared my schedule recently on the blog and it's pretty similar, lots of spurts with work and things that fuel my soul randomly interspersed.

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  7. Love this! I have to take breaks and walk away from my computer! I turn on Friends, grab a cup of coffee (because duh!), and just relax or another favorite of mine is laying out by the pool!

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  8. I love working for myself and working from home too, but it really can be difficult to make sure that you do balance work and life. It's harder to be "off" when work at home and it seems like I am always doing something at all hours of the day.

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  9. i totally agree with this!! i need a break away from my computer! just 2 nights and 3 days complete rest will be fine!!

    -kelly reci

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  10. The timer is definitely a good idea for getting work done! Also i think its great that you do things before 8 but then also can after which could just be a good way to get ahead!

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  11. You're so right, work doesn't ever really end. I'm glad I have the leeway to control it though.

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  12. Great post! I love what I'm doing too and it's the best thing that happens. Drawing the line between work and life is so important. I got carried away sometimes because I want to. I'm feeling good that I'm in control.

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  13. I would love to set myself a schedule and have some down time during the day. Every time I think that I am going to get it, however, something else comes up and I need to take care of it. I never seem to get a break.

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  14. Finding that balance is never easy. Especially true if you're trying to make money but aren't... you'll keep pushing forward trying to make money if you need it. It's a real time user.

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  15. I need to start using a timer again to stay on track. I've been working from home for a very long time and it's great but lately I've been distracted. These are great tips!

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  16. I struggle with work-home life balance too. I started working from home in 2009, and to this day it's constantly a juggling act because since my work is just feet away I catch myself working too often. One thing that has helped me is putting my office in another room though, but considering I'm leaving this comment at nearly midnight I obviously am still a work in progress in the balancing act. haha!

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  17. My mom taught me young about making a schedule for the day and block it into 1 hour time frames or even 30 minutes, so from 9:30-10- emails, 10-10:30- photo editing, and then continue throughout the day! I hated it as a kid but it can really help

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  18. You are so smart, taking time the schedule is brilliant!!

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  19. Keeping a work-life balance can be tricky, but it's definitely good to make a schedule! Also, taking breaks is key!!

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  20. Having and taking breaks are a must for me. Otherwise I feel overwhelmed. I like to make sure that I'm clocked out at 5pm so I can treat my blog as a job and not have to worry about doing work when my boys & Brian are home.

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  21. Breaks are definitely key for me! I have to write them into my daily schedule though or I will totally skip over them.

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  22. I follow a tight schedule as well so that I won't be tempted to procrastinate. I think it's amazing that you're doing what you love and that you're able to blog full time!

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  23. I blog/work from home and have the hardest time putting the computer down. I'm trying to find a better work/life balance where I don't work 12 hour days!

    Greta | www.gretahollar.com

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  24. I am a stay at home mom and there are definitely days when I spend more time at my computer than I should and my kids are begging me to do something with them. I'm working on a schedule that I can implement so I get more done in the morning before they get up.

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  25. I try to do as much of my work as possible out of the house. So "working from home" really means working from a local coffee shop. I do definitely work on blog stuff at home because some days I just don't want to leave the house (or spend $5 on coffee), but I try to make sure I'm doing it in the living room, office, or dining room and never in the bedroom (though I'm guilty of breaking that rule, especially if my husband isn't home) to try to keep *some* amount of space between life and work.

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  26. I work from home too so a good balance is pretty important. It's quite hard than most people think as balancing work and life takes serious focus and self discipline.

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  27. I do my blogging work and when I was in school I use to do all of my work at home. It's hard to take time to stop and walk away. These are such great tips!
    xoxo,
    Amy | Pastel N Pink

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  28. I find that working from home you either can't stop working or you get too distracted. These tips are all so important for keeping balance!

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  29. It can be such a balance between working from home and being home! I can get distracted to, or somehow find a housewife marathon on, so I have an office that I try to keep all of my work in and not spread it around the house!

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  30. These are spot on! Taking breaks and enjoying your lunch while watching TV is exactly what I do. It makes the biggest difference and allows me to refocus.

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  31. I work from home too and I use some of those tips you shared. Especially having an end time when you are not "working" as blogging you can be working all day if had no limit and you would burn yourself out!


    Thank you,
    Oby Grace

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