'Help! I'm struggling with work-life balance as a remote worker'

Haya Malik

Hi Haya,

I really need some help navigating my new full-time job as a remote worker. I recently graduated and was offered a full-time opportunity by the organisation I've been associated with for the last few years as an intern.

My role, responsibilities and working hours were different during the internship period, but with full-time hours, the situation has completely changed and I find it difficult managing time, especially because it's work from home. While I'm working, and that too at home, I also have to manage some chores around the house, which often clashes with my tasks.

It's only been a month into the full-time work hours, but I'm already exhausted and find it challenging to navigate my tasks at work and at home. Please tell me how to work around this full-time work-from-home arrangement without compromising any of my responsibilities and also getting some mental rest.

Thank you!

Help! Im struggling with work-life balance as a remote worker

Dear reader,

As a therapist, I understand that transitioning to a full-time remote work position can be a significant adjustment, especially when balancing work responsibilities with household chores.

When working from home, time management, setting clear boundaries and having a structure in place between work and personal life are critical to maintaining work-life balance.

I hear you saying that when working from home you also need to manage tasks around the house, which clashes with your professional tasks. The first thing you need to understand and prioritise is that you cannot do two things at one time. You cannot multitask. You cannot manage work AND home, both at the same time.

To succeed in remote work, it's crucial to establish clear boundaries and structured time management.

When we try to do everything at one time hoping to get it all done, we end up getting less done with compromised quality.

What will be critical to have would be designated work hours which are communicated to your employer and household members. Having a structured schedule can help create a sense of routine and delineate when you're "at work" versus when you're available for household tasks or personal time.

In addition, consider creating a dedicated workspace within your home, ideally in a quiet area with minimal distractions. This designated area can serve as your professional environment, helping to mentally separate work from leisure activities.

Approach your workday as you would in a traditional office setting, beginning with a morning routine and prioritising your work tasks through daily or weekly scheduling. Identify key objectives for each day and allocate specific time slots to accomplish them. Breaking tasks into manageable chunks enhances productivity and reduces overwhelm.

Moreover, look into effective time management techniques and find what works for you best. Some are first in, first out (FIFO) — the task that comes in first needs to be out first and the Pomodoro technique which emphasises working in focused intervals followed by short breaks. This allows you to maintain your productivity and avoid burnout.

Additionally, communicate with your employer about any challenges you are facing with the remote work arrangement. They may offer flexibility or support in managing workload better.

Maintaining strict time boundaries between work and personal life is crucial. Once your work hours conclude, shift your focus to personal tasks and household chores. Planning ahead can help streamline these activities, ensuring efficient time management.

Additionally, once done with your work day, prioritise self-care and mental rest by dedicating time to activities you enjoy, such as exercise, mindfulness, or hobbies. You could also plan enjoyable activities for weekends which would provide a sense of balance and something to look forward to after the workweek.

Remember, it's normal to feel overwhelmed initially, but with time and practice, you can develop effective strategies to balance your responsibilities and well-being in a full-time remote work environment.

Best of luck!


Help! Im struggling with work-life balance as a remote worker

Haya Malik is a psychotherapist, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner, corporate well-being strategist and trainer with expertise in creating organisational cultures focused on well-being and raising awareness around mental health.

Send her your questions to [email protected]

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