The concept of work/life balance was not really a “thing” until I started working from home in late 2019. Before that I worked in an office. I got there at 8:30a and left at 5:30p. I left work at work until the next day barring on-call/maintenance window stuff. I always took all my vacation. I look back and consider it about as balanced as could be.

November 2019 I started a WFH job. It took a little bit of adjustment but this was right before COVID and things were still open and I could still go have lunch with friends and keep doing normal stuff. Then lockdown happened. I was home 24/7. That’s when the balance started to slide and I had to take a look at what I was doing. Most of my responses here are from a Work-From-Home perspective.

Trying to maintain a Work Life balance has been a concern for people for a while now. After a quick Google search, I found websites, blogs and books all offering advice on how to go about it. Let’s take a look at my version of that.

What are the cool things have you learned?

First coolest, most awesome thing I’ve learned is that my marriage is strong enough for both of us to work from home. Cats don’t care if you’re on a video call.

What things did you try, that simply didn’t work out?

“Winging it”. Not having a plan or schedule.

What rules have you implemented that made it easier to balance?

Having a dedicated space for work and work only has helped. My desk setup is for work. If I want to check email or something personal during non-work hours, I do it from the couch or kitchen table. The “At work” and “At home” are physical spaces as well as head spaces.

Being near a windows. I enjoy the natural light and it makes it obvious when it’s evening. This really helps with knowing when to start wrapping up your work day.

Set a reminder to self-evaluate. Ask yourself how you’re doing and make changes if needed.

What rules made it harder to find that balance?

Having no commute makes it easier to work just a “few more minutes” or “check on X after dinner”. Being able to pop in to the office at any time makes it too easy to stay in work mode.

What are tips or tricks can you share to help others?

No. Learn to say no. If your work/life balance is being mostly being affected by external factors, learning to say “NO” is essential. No is a powerful word. That goes for both work and life. If your life is too chaotic to get work done, you need to say no to things there too.

Stick to a schedule. Start time, lunch time, quitting time. This helps your brain know which mode you’re in and help anyone else in your life know.

Be where you are. If you’re “home” BE home. If your brain is still at work you’re not helping yourself and you’re not being fair to those around you.

Exercise is an important part of maintaining balance. Walk, swim, bike, jog or anything else that gets you moving. Just a few minutes a day makes a difference.

Time off. Not just vacation, but weekends too. Allow yourself time to recharge.

Be sure to check out my other T-SQL Tuesday posts