Workers who trudge into an office every day envy individuals who work from home. After all, the work-from-home crowd doesn’t have to battle rush-hour traffic, listen to office gossip, or smell the day-old fish that their fellow employees are microwaving in the office cafeteria.

What these office workers don’t understand is that working from home comes with its own difficulties. Namely, it can be hard for them to shut off their workday. It’s not unusual for professionals who work from home to look and see that it’s midnight and they’re still writing reports. Maintaining a normal work/life balance can prove to be a complicated balancing act for many who work from home.

Fortunately, work-from-homers can take steps to improve their work/life balance and retain their sanity.

  1. Set up a time for your “close of business”: Be sure you set a time to end work. Regardless of what that looks like for you. It could be a regular 9am to 5pm, or 12pm to 8pm. Make absolutely certain that you stick to it and shut your computer off when your day ends.
  2. Do something for yourself: Whenever you determine your workday is over you should do something for yourself. This can be something basic: Maybe you want to relax on the couch and stream a few episodes of your favorite sitcom. Or it can be a bigger deal, like a dinner date with a friend or a trip to the movies. This will help get you psychologically out of your work.
  3. Leave the house: It’s easy as a work-from-homer to spend all of your time at home. You look up, see it’s the end of the week, and realize that the only time you left your house was to go to the grocery store when you ran out of cereal. Don’t turn into a work-from-home shut-in. It’s simply not healthy.

Overwork leads to stress. Whether you work from home, in an office, or out in the field, the key to preserving your sanity is to reserve non-work time for yourself. But what if you can’t force yourself to shut off the workday? Then it might be time to consider returning to the office, where there’s always someone around to shut off the lights and chase you out of your cubicle.

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