There’s a lot I enjoy about running my own business and working from home. I get to work with Gino by my side, create my schedule, and enjoy flexibility. At the same time, as an entrepreneur, it’s easy to let work completely consume you! Luckily, I’ve learned helpful ways to separate my work life and personal life, even working from home. Today, I’m sharing my top hacks for managing my work-life balance.
Our phones make it so easy to be accessible at all hours of the day and for me to keep tabs on my business 24/7. That’s why the most important tool I’ve discovered for managing my work-life balance is my iPhone’s Screen Time settings (the Digital Wellbeing function on Androids). I set up Downtime so my phone only lets me use my apps and programs from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Outside of that window, I can only make phone calls or texts.
Limiting time spent working or on social media has helped me turn work off for the day and get the mental rest and recharging I need. It’s helped me boost my productivity because I know I have a firm “start” and “stop” time for work every day.
Using Screen Time’s App Limits, I also manage how many hours a day I spend on particular apps, like Instagram, for example. @DogsOfMKE is an Instagram-heavy business, and as much as I love scrolling and exploring, I used to spend a lot of time on the app that’s better spent elsewhere!
Now, I use App Limits to set my Instagram limit for three hours every day. That fixed window of time has given me more structure for how I use Instagram and helps me hone in on accounts and content that are valuable and relevant to me.
I didn’t set out to work exclusively with a desktop computer and no laptop, but it’s been really nice for managing my work-life balance! With my desktop computer in my office, I have a designated space where I sit down and move through my daily projects and tasks. Then, when I end my workday and shut the door to my home office, I really am done.
Without a laptop, I can’t bring my work with me throughout my house, or even with me on vacation. Of course, it means I have to plan my schedule carefully and make sure I’m productive with my working hours every day. But for me, it’s created an excellent way to keep work separate from my home life, even though I work from home.
I realize that not everyone can make the laptop->desktop switch, but you can still choose when and where to work! Whether you have a home office or even just a space you mostly work from, try limiting laptop use to that spot and not bringing it with you around your house. You might find it helps you separate your work and home lives, too!
Saturdays are the one day of the week that my husband and I can both be home or available to do things together. To protect that important time with him and maintain a good work-life balance, I try not to schedule photoshoots on Saturdays. I’ll of course accommodate clients’ scheduling needs, but where I can, I save Saturdays for my husband and me.
I think everyone has windows of time that, ideally, they’d like to reserve for their family or friends. It’s been nice to hear that people understand and respect my efforts to protect my time. Rest and relaxation with the people you love is so important, and I know it helps me focus better during my workdays.
Running my business in the digital world provides contacts and clients with many ways to connect with me. So, I’ve chosen to limit communication to email and Instagram DMs and typically don’t give out my phone number.
Doing this makes me more productive with my time, helps me turn work off for the day, and lets me choose when and where I connect with people. I check my email three times a day, and I don’t leave my email app open while I’m working. That way, I can focus on what I’m doing without seeing or hearing distractions that might tempt me off track!
And because I usually answer my emails before I turn my attention to my Instagram DMs, I always ask clients to email me any questions or updates about their shoots – even day-of messages!
Even though I’ve created a pretty distraction-free zone in my home office, I still like to structure my time and stay on task! My Time Cube is great for setting a specific amount of time I want to spend on something and making sure I stick to it.
I’ve also learned to close out of apps that give me notifications I struggle to ignore. Yep, I’m one of those people who can’t ignore the little red flags begging for my attention! Closing out of those apps helps me focus on what I’m working on. Then, when I’m ready, I can open them and start making the flags disappear.
Setting aside time for myself every day to exercise is a major part of keeping a healthy work-life balance. By making working out a priority, I break up my day and treat myself to some quality self-care time. Plus, when you work from home and spend long hours indoors, exercise is a serious mood-booster and really makes me feel good.
I enjoy doing a mix of home exercises and going to The Barre Code (with a mask on, of course!) Knowing I have a workout planned gives me something to look forward to and makes a difference in how I feel at the end of a workday!
It took me some practice, but these hacks have really helped me create a work-life balance that lets me stay productive, focused, and happy working from home. Do you have any tried-and-true tips to share? Leave a comment with your favorite work-life balance hacks!