By Conner Shears

If you are anything like me, then you sometimes struggle to keep work and life separated while working remotely. Balancing between work and personal life is critical to maintaining a healthy remote work life and avoiding burnout.

While most of us are relatively new to remote work life, SmartBug® has always been a fully remote agency since it began in 2008 and has come up with different ways for you to be successful while working remotely. If you haven’t already, it’s time to embrace a new era of (remote) work.

Working From Home Coffee

What Does a Normal Day in the Life of a Remote Worker Look Like?

For some, routines are vital to the success of working remotely. Sticking to a schedule keeps the individual on track throughout the day and allows them to set boundaries between work and life. 

For others, being totally flexible throughout each day is how they keep their mind clear and ready for anything that comes their way. 

For me, I try to stay somewhere in the middle. I have an outline of what my day looks like (either mentally or written down), and I am able to work through a general routine while keeping my schedule as open as possible.

Here’s a glimpse into an average day in my life as a remote employee: 

  • 7:00 a.m.: Wake up! Browse the news, the weather, and the scores from the night before.
  • 7:15 a.m.: Take a shower to start the day off with a clean slate. 
  • 7:30 a.m.: Feed the cats and make some coffee! Nothing can get done until my cats have had their breakfast. For my coffee, I have a small coffee maker that makes about two cups of coffee (or if I’m running late, I’ll use my Keurig).
  • 7:45 a.m.: Do some light exercises and stretches to get the blood flowing. Sometimes my mind needs some exercises to begin the day, so I will spend that time meditating instead.
  • 8:00 a.m.: “Coffee and Catch Up” is how I start my work day everyday. Check emails, check Slack, and check my tasks for the day. It’s important to organize my day when I sit down to ensure everything is in good shape before I dive in.
  • 8:30 a.m.: Begin chipping away at everything I need to do that day. 
  • 10:30 a.m.: Take a mental break. It’s incredibly easy for us to get so into our work that we don’t even notice the time. I find it helps to step away from the screen after working for 2-3 hours just to give my mind and my eyes a break. Even if it’s only a few minutes, a quick break is good for me.
  • 10:45 a.m.: Return from break. Respond to any emails or messages I may have received since I last checked.
  • 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.: Because most of my team is on the east coast, and I am in Mountain Time, I often have meetings through what is most people’s lunch time. 
  • 1:00 p.m.: Step away for a bite to eat. This is the one I struggle with the most. Oftentimes, I find that I am not even hungry, and have to force myself to eat something. It seems like a small thing, but giving myself a lunch break and recharging for the 2nd half of the day goes a long way.
  • 1:30 p.m.: Once I’ve got something to eat, it’s time to get back to my desk to check emails and messages.
  • 3:30 p.m.: Take a mental break. I like to go on a walk during my afternoon breaks. Again, I can’t forget to give myself a break to recharge really quickly!
  • 3:45 p.m.: Return from break. 
  • 5:00 p.m.: It can be difficult trying to log off for the day, especially when my work computer is within arm’s reach all the time! This is why it’s so crucial to set boundaries so we find that work-life balance.

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How to Maintain Work-Life Balance from Home

It’s always easier said than done, but finding balance between remote work and your personal life is the key to avoiding burnout. Whether it’s sleeping in, traveling, or just taking a long break in the middle of the day, you have to find the right work-life balance for you

It wasn’t until recently that I realized I needed to set boundaries for myself and work. When your work is within arm’s reach at any given time, it’s really easy to hop back on your computer and think, “I’ll just knock out a couple of easy tasks.” Before you know it, it has snowballed into a third work shift that nobody asked you to do. Now when I sign off, that is the end of the work day. Almost anything that comes through in an email at 8 p.m. can wait until 8 a.m. the next morning. 

Another simple way to break up my work and personal life is through my clothes. Days like today when it has been snowing for over 24 hours, it’s tempting to throw on sweatpants and a hoodie, and occasionally I do. However, I’ve noticed that when I dress “business casual,” it’s easier for me to know when I’m done working for the day because I can change out of my “work clothes” and into something a bit more comfortable. 

While it’s possible to work in the living room in a pair of pajamas, I personally leave my work in my office. Once I leave my office workspace, I’m not thinking about work. Again, this all comes down to what work-life balance is best for each individual.

How to Utilize a Flexible Remote Work Culture

Here at SmartBug, you are able to make your schedule work for you. If you have a family, if you have pets, if you like to travel, if you like to work odd hours, it’s about what is best for you. 

Communication matters most. As long as you are communicating with your manager and getting your work done, there’s no reason not to take advantage of a flexible schedule. 

What works for me may not work for you, and that’s the great thing about working from home for an agency such as SmartBug. You get to set up your office or workspace exactly how you want it. You can work in your living room, your backyard, as you travel across the country, or in another country entirely

Does the flexibility of remote life sound appealing to you? Join our team! Check out our open positions today.

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Conner Shears

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