When you start to dive head-first into your business, it can be difficult to find a solid line between your work and your day-to-day life. Oftentimes, that line is super blurry– maybe even nonexistent– and there’s no clear distinction. This can lead to feeling burnt out and as if all you ever do is work, which, in a sense, can actually be true.
When you work a little in the morning, a little in the afternoon, a little in the evening, and a little after bedtime, you get the feeling that you spend your whole day basically working. The constant juggling back and forth between the two can be exhausting, but we’re here to give you 8 tips to maintain a healthy work-life integration and feel much more productive at the end of the day.
Whether you prefer to work from 8am–4pm or 11am–7pm, set clear office hours and stick to them. No matter how hard it is to resist the temptation of pulling out your laptop right before bed to do “one last thing”, stick to your office hours! However, know that your office hours don’t have to be consecutive. Perhaps you work from 8am-11am, then 2pm-5pm, and then you like to squeeze in a couple of extra hours around 7pm-9pm. If this is how you’re able to work best, then that’s okay, too, as long as you stick to those hours.
Silence your phone during work. If you have an iPhone, you can set your phone on Do Not Disturb but still be able to allow calls or texts from certain contacts to come through. We also see those fifteen tabs you have open in your browser! Close all of those that don’t pertain to the task at hand. Otherwise, you’re likely to start trying to multitask, which never works. It’s been described as a really great way to do more than one thing poorly.
Time has a funny way of working where, after lunch, the rest of the day seems to fly by, and before you know it, it’s 5 pm. Getting all of the big stuff out of the way before lunch time allows you to only need to focus on the smaller, less stressful tasks when you come back from your break. You’ll feel much more productive once those last 4 hours or so are over, and you won’t have to dread the thought of tackling that huge project after dinner time because you put it off all day.
Many of us are working primarily from home right now, which can throw you for a loop when it comes to setting boundaries between work life and home life. Having a designated workspace allows you to get in your work zone just as the same as an office would. Even if you don’t have a home office, setting up at your dining room table is just as good. You’ll notice a huge difference when trying to work from your couch versus working at a table.
Do you start to become less motivated after a certain amount of time? Do you tend to jump from task to task? Know what your weaknesses are so you can act accordingly. If you’re great to work early in the morning but become more easily distracted and fatigued in the afternoon, complete as much important work as you can in the morning. If you get distracted easily or remember a task you need to do and immediately jump to it, leaving the task you had on hand high and dry, keep a notebook beside you so you can write those things down as they pop up. You won’t forget to do them later, and you won’t have to do them immediately before you forget.
Setting a routine in place will allow you to find some consistency in your work and home lives. If you’re unsure where to start, begin by planning buffer, or transition, time between activities. If you know you’ll need to take the kids to school at 7am and pick them up at 3pm, plan transition time at the beginning and end of these periods to stop working and then come back. This helps you move into the next task with more focus and energy. Try waking up at the same time, eating breakfast at the same time, logging into your computer at the same time to begin work, eating lunch, etc.
Be Present in Whatever You’re Doing
Don’t be with the family but thinking about work and vice versa. The same goes for any task you’re working on. If you feel yourself starting to get distracted or losing momentum, shift to another activity. This is also important when it comes to knowing what tasks can be sliced and what can’t (i.e. what can be worked on a few minutes here and there versus what will need a solid chunk of time to complete at once). Furthermore, understand that when you’re working while watching the kids, for example, you’re likely not as focused as you could be, so plan to review your work when you’re less distracted if possible.
Set realistic goals for what you hope to accomplish each day. Aiming to complete too much work and then not being able to finish it all can lead to disappointment or thinking we’re doing something wrong when in reality, we just set our expectations too high. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that you may not be able to complete everything in one day.
There you have our 8 tips to maintaining a healthy work-life integration. If you have any tips of your own that you’ve found helpful or you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us on Instagram! Remember that right now, at the very least, it’s all about ensuring that the time you do have to work is spent on the most important and time-sensitive tasks. We’re all in survival mode, so don’t feel discouraged if you can’t master all 8 tips just yet.