Managing the urge to do housework while working remotely

BalanceStress ManagementTelecommutingTime ManagementWork From HomeWorking Remotely

When you work from home it’s common to want to tackle a few chores around the house. And it’s easy to see why: When you’re working down the hall from the laundry room why not throw in a load in between calls or vacuum the living room during your lunch break rather than on Sunday afternoon? You do one small chore here and there, which seems harmless enough but overtime your lunch break to-do list might comprise things that could take an entire Saturday! This can leave you feeling strapped for time, stressed, and if you share a living space with a partner, family, or friends even a bit resentful. Oh and on top of this your work may suffer!

So how do you find the right balance between your work and housework, while working from home? What do you do when you feel overwhelmed by the large list of chores you’ve put made for yourself as a WFH employee? Here are a few tips:

  1. Remember that before you were remote you got all (or most!) of your housework done. When you were heading into the office or worked in a more “traditional” I’m assuming you found time to wash the sheets. You found time outside of your workday then and can do so now.
  2. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should be focused on the home. Sure it can seem really appealing to get some housework or errands done so you have more free time to yourself on the weekend but there’s something to be said about not cramming 10 different tasks into your already packed workday. On top of this it’s really important to remember that you’re still working. A real-life job. That pays you. So, that work needs to get done.
  3. Remember that real breaks are important. Your body needs time in between meetings and large blocks of work. Popping outside to mow the lawn doesn’t count. If you’re constantly finding things to do during breaks it’s not really a break since your mind isn’t being given the spare to clear. Allow yourself 15 minutes for a coffee without wiping down the kitchen counters. Trust me.
  4. Cut yourself some slack and make sure others do as well. I live alone so if the sink is full of dirty dishes at 6 pm because I had a day full of meetings and I’m tired after work I’m okay with it. Give yourself this wiggle room and if you share a living space be sure your partner, family, or roommates do as well. Have a conversation about expectations with those you share a space with; it always surprises me that even the most well-intentioned and empathetic of people can forget that you’re working a job and can’t just do all the housework during your 9-5.
  5. When you get overwhelmed just stop. You may have noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus these past few weeks. During July and early August I had a lot going on in my full-time job, my career coaching side business, oh and I relocated from Atlanta to Chicago (more on the move as a remote employee another time!) I was stressed, tired, and overwhelmed. I had to prioritize and I decided to pull back in blogging for a bit while I got through the move. When you sense yourself getting overwhelmed and taking on too much hit pause, regroup, and prioritize. Don’t let your flexibility make you become inflexible.

Does this ring true for anyone else? Do you find yourself taking on housework here and there while teleworking? Is this a problem for you or does it work? Share in the comments below!

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