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Energize Your Working from Home Routine and Critical Year-End Financial Questions
While some people were working from home before the COVID-19 pandemic, for those who haven’t – this has been an unprecedented time.
Not only have almost all aspects of our daily lives been changed, a typical workday no longer exists anymore, and working from home necessitates adjustments to your previously traditional workday. The blending of responsibilities from two major areas of our lives – work and home – can result in added stress, especially during an already stressful pandemic. Even long-time remote workers are experiencing unique challenges brought on by the pandemic.
The good news is that you can take steps to overcome some of the challenges you may be facing while working from home.
Create a Flexible Work-Life Balance
Sometimes working from home can lead to overworking from home. If you find yourself not taking breaks or unable to turn off your job responsibilities at the end of the day, you may end up physically and emotionally exhausted. Establish a schedule that will encourage productivity and create boundaries that support work-life separation to help you avoid burnout. By establishing routines around a flexible work schedule, you allow yourself a greater opportunity to optimize your productivity and stay motivated while working from home while at the same time giving you plenty of time to take care of your personal-life obligations.
Set Clear Boundaries for Interaction
Be clear and concise about boundaries on space and interaction with others in your household such as your kids, partners, spouses, or parents. While you may not necessarily need to keep normal office hours, you will undoubtedly need time when you have to concentrate on your work or make phone calls without interruption. Consider setting up blocks of time for when your family members or those in your household agree to not interrupt your work. You can also rotate blocks of available time with other adults in your household or a trusted friend or neighbor.
Optimize Your Workspace
It’s important to establish a physical space where you can go to concentrate and focus on your professional responsibilities. This work space will look different for every person depending on your life circumstances. In truth, the best place for you to set up your “office” is where you are most comfortable working. Don’t forget to make sure that the programs you use for work are consistently updated to the latest versions, and that your hardware, smartphone, and other technology are all adaptable, up-to-date, and functional to support remote work. Nothing zaps productivity momentum like having to take the time to update your software or replace malfunctioning equipment.
Don’t Forget to Take Care of Yourself
There are always some days that are busier than others, and on those busier days it’s important to make sure that you still set aside time to take care of yourself. People have a tendency to blur the lines between work and home, and that’s especially true when they are working remotely. Time with your family is important. Your physical health is also important. Be sure to eat regular meals and schedule time to exercise each day, even if that’s only getting outside for a walk. Regular exercise and fresh air helps your mental health and physical energy — both of which are important for optimizing productivity.
Use this year-end time to your advantage
The holiday time at the end of the year tends to be a time when you are relaxing at home, and – perhaps most importantly – in a good mood with some time on your hands. This can be an ideal time to review your finances and make some important choices before the new year starts.
Tax moves: Are there any tax loss carry forwarding or tax selling you need to do before the new year?
Gifting deductions: There is a $15,000 yearly gift tax exclusion you can take advantage of. If you haven’t done this yet, this could be a good time to give to your children or grandchildren.
Charitable giving: Know your options for making charitable donations. Donating appreciated stocks or other alternatives to cash may be a good fit for you and the charity.
Head start on saving: If you are thinking of putting more money aside for your financial goals next year, why wait? Speak with your advisor to see if it is beneficial for you to get started before the new year starts.