Not everyone is a natural when it comes to working from home, and sometimes, striking the perfect work-life balance can be difficult. Figuring out how to separate work from home when you’re stuck in the same spot all day can be tricky—but believe me when I say it’s doable. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Bobby Berk from Netflix’s Queer Eye. While Berk’s role on the show has him doing most of his work in other people’s homes, he also runs a successful lifestyle website and a major interior design business, so he knows a thing or two about striking a balance when it comes to your space.
According to Berk, you can’t work efficiently or relax comfortably without a healthy work-life separation. “We’ve all heard the saying that you should keep work and play separate, and the same goes for your home,” he insists. So, what to do? “With all the time we are spending indoors, it’s important to set aside a dedicated spot for you to work from every day, which will allow you to focus and stay productive,” he says. Granted, it’s likely most of us can’t afford a full-on home office reno right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take small steps to ensure we have a space we can be productive in.
While I’d certainly love for the Queer Eye crew to glam me up, give me the ultimate work-from-home wardrobe and build me my dream home office, for now I’ll have to settle for Berk’s advice on how to make my current WFH situation one in which I can thrive. Read on for his top three tips below.
1. Define Your Workspace
I know it can be tempting to work from bed, but believe me—it’s not the move. And FYI, neither is the couch! “Dedicate a workspace to work from, whether that is the edge of a dining table, a makeshift desk, or your coffee table,” Berk advises. Defining a work-only space will help keep you focused, not to mention allow you to ~leave work~ at the end of the day.
How to ensure you won’t be tempted to stray from your new home office? Plan ahead! “Keep it consistent and grab all the items you need to get you through your day,” says Berk. Consider some desk organizers, like the chic Sorbus 5-Piece Desk Organizer Set, to keep your files, notebooks and other work essentials close by.
2. Set Office Hours
If you’re not the only person in your household working remotely, remember to be considerate of one another and set some boundaries—otherwise, you’ll both be worse off. “Set ‘working hours’ with your roommate or partner,” suggests Berk. During said hours, be especially cautious to not disturb one another.
“Respecting each other’s time with phone calls and meetings will go a long way as we spend more time together in close quarters,” Berk insists. Plus, you can catch up at the end of the day as if you both actually went to work in different offices.
If overhearing your roommate or partner at work is a distraction, invest in the COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones to block out sound and allow you to really focus.
3. Take Breaks
All work and no play might sound productive, but really, taking time for yourself is the key to killing it. Balance, baby! “It’s important to take some moments for yourself,” says Berk, “Whether that is a guided meditation in the middle of your workday, a walk around the block, a dance break or treating yourself to a delicious iced coffee at 3:00 p.m.” You aren’t wired to work non-stop all day, so pace yourself and take small breaks to ensure you don’t burn out.
“Make sure to prioritize those little moments that make you happy, so that you can take care of your mind as much as you are taking care of your work,” says Berk. Personally, I’m a big fan of a 15-minute power nap, and I always reach for my Baloo Weighted Blanket to help me fall asleep faster and sleep more peacefully. Yes, it’s hard to crawl out when my alarm goes off, but I know I can always take another break later on!
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