These days, people often feel pressure to do more, work more, and struggle to disconnect from their work. It has become rare or a privilege to leave work on time or take a real lunch break. This all leads to great strides in our careers, but unfortunately can have devastating effects on our home lives and well being. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way to have that same success in your career and balance the rest of your life. It comes down to setting healthy boundaries and improving productivity in a healthy way.
Ultimately, the stress caused by never disconnecting from work and from struggling to maintain that home/work life balance is the biggest down fall to productivity and success in the work place. This leads to feeling burned out or always pulled in multiple directions, while never fully feeling successful in any area. As hard of a concept as it is to accept in today’s work culture, setting time boundaries and disconnecting from work can help reduce those negative feelings and allow you to be more focused and productive while at work.
- Prioritize Lunch and End Time: schedule a lunch break and your stop time on your calendar just as you would any other work obligation. It does not mean that it has to be at the same time every day, but that it does have to happen every day. This puts taking care of yourself and your home life at the same place in your priorities as any other work task, leading to an increased likelihood of taking it.
- Lunch is For Lunch: it is less about the amount of time you take and more about what you do with that time. A lunch break doesn’t have to be a full hour. It is also not a time to keep working or run errands. It is time to eat lunch and do something for you. A twenty minute break to eat lunch and read a book can be more refreshing and useful towards increasing your productivity than a full hour of running errands any day.
- Improve Productivity: rather than continuing to spend more and more time working, improve you productivity during the hours you are supposed to spend working.
- Stop multi-tasking
- Make sure you are well rested
- Take breaks to refresh when getting distracted
- Organize, make lists, schedule things
- Don’t take on more than you can handle – doing what you are supposed to do well is better than doing extra tasks poorly
- Reduce distractions – put your phone away, close your door
- Spend Quality Time at Home: using your time at home for family, yourself, and friends will help allow you to focus more on work when at work. If you are constantly being pulled to work from home and home from work, you are never fully invested in one or the other, leading to a loss of focus and productivity.
- Create Structure: working with flexible hours sounds appealing but often leads to the feeling that you have to work more and cannot take breaks. Giving yourself a set schedule, writing it down, and knowing that you are working enough can help you disconnect from work. It should be more about what you have accomplished then how long you took to accomplish it.
- Move Around: taking time to get up from your desk and move around improves energy and focus.
- Take Care of You First: making sure you eat right, get enough rest, exercise, take medications correctly, take vitamins, etc. all lead to you being the best you that you can be – meaning the most productive you that you can be. It is especially easy to get less sleep or skip the gym to make sure the work gets done, but sacrificing these things for work only serves to lessen your ability to perform at your peak rate in the work place.