Three easy steps to create a stress-free work-life balance when working from home

Three ways to achieve a stress-free work-life balanceBy Mariette Jansen (Dr De-Stress)

Dr Mariette Jansen presented a workshop at the Society for Editors and Proofreaders (SfEP) 25th annual conference in 2014 entitled ‘The challenge of balance: creating a work-life co-operation, not a battle’. Here she outlines three ways to achieve a stress-free work-life balance when working from home.

Work and life are perceived as two aspects of life that don’t go together: you are either working, or not. If only it was that simple.

Especially when working from home, it can be impossible to separate work and life. All too often, work gets in the way of life and life gets in the way of work. As a result, frustration and stress kicks in because you can’t stick to your best intentions in planning your work and you can often find yourself behind. Often, feelings of guilt arise if your house or child needs attention. Even though you might be physically close by, you don’t really have the time or energy to offer your full presence.

What can you do to make changes?

Lots of stressful situations can be resolved by being clear. Setting goals, planning your time, sticking to your resolutions and, at the same time, being flexible if you have to be.

Step 1: When you work from home or at home, it helps to decide the day before how many hours you need to concentrate on work: choose the minimum requirement, not the maximum possible, as this will set you up for disappointment. You will never fully achieve what you set out to do if you aim for the maximum possible in ideal circumstances. Only once in a while is life kind enough to provide the ideal situation, so you had better not bank on it. If you have to juggle, you need to allow time for that.

Step 2: Plan your hours carefully and stick to the plan, regardless. Communicate your planning to others, so they know as well. If your kids need you at a certain time, they will know when you are available and when you are not. Children can usually wait, you know… It might also mean you get up before anybody else to kick-start your working day with two or three hours of non-disturbed, focused labour. Imagine the feeling of achievement and reassurance when you are on top or, even better, ahead of your schedule.

Step 3: Take each day as it comes and learn from it. You may start with the best intentions, but most likely ‘life gets in the way’. Don’t let anger or frustration blur your perception, just observe what happens and use this information to adapt your planning in the future. The lesson might be that your planning has been more optimistic than realistic. If you continue applying these three steps, you will take more in control of your work-life balance and consequently feel less stressed and happier.

Dr Mariette Jansen / Dr De-StressDr Mariette Jansen aka Dr De-Stress, is a trained psychotherapist, life coach, meditation teacher, designer of award-winning stress-management techniques, author, motivational speaker and life changer. She offers personal coaching services via Skype and in person, aimed at work-life balance, food and diet stress, confidence and work stress. She also organises courses, workshops and talks around mindfulness meditation. Her book ‘Bullshit, non-sense and common-sense about meditation’ has been praised as insightful, easy to read and motivating. Mariette can be contacted by email or phone (07967 717131). She can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Proofread by Chris Charlton.

The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the CIEP.


6 thoughts on “Three easy steps to create a stress-free work-life balance when working from home

  1. Sally Asnicar

    Good article, Mariette. I have worked from home since 2007. Apart from running my own business, I also help my husband with the running of his business, I have 3 kids, a dog, a cat, and an elderly mother in law requiring daily visits. Fitting it all in IS a challenge. I feel a little triumphant if I actually manage to get to the gym more than once a week! Basically you are all things to everyone, and apart from the isolation of working from home, other challenges are procrastination (boring job; I’d rather bake a cake), poor time management, and unplanned interruptions (particularly from people who forget that you are WORKING when you are at home during the day). Kids are the biggest challenge – they are not easy to ignore and after school’s out, there’s much ferrying about to after school activities and of course, they need to be FED. I tend to get my work hours in by working in the evenings after they’ve gone to bed, or fit in an hour in the morning before making lunches, and I squeeze a few hours in on the weekend. It’s not ideal, but it’s about flexibility. At the end of the day, the work gets done, the kids are fed, I have cleaners (yay) and occasionally, I get to the gym (double yay).

  2. Lilly Watson

    Planning is the most important thing in our life if you want to succeed, and if you working at home it is more necessarily than ever because you need to look after your kids and more and more. So this is really perfect advice

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    Great article, Mariette. I have telecommuted since 2007. Aside from maintaining my own business, I likewise help my better half with the running of his business, I have 3 children, a pooch, a feline, and an older relative requiring every day visits. Fitting it all in IS a test. I feel somewhat triumphant in the event that I really figure out how to get to the rec center more than once per week!

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