The struggle is real. Even part-time workers feel the spill over. It is not, however, uncontrollable and unmanageable. What we are talking about here is keeping work papers from taking over your night stand and kitchen, and from thoughts of how full the laundry basket is disrupting your train of thought when you’re in a board meeting. Like most things this divine separation comes down to pre-planning and follow through on a few points; separating your work-home time, work-home space, and your work-home thoughts.
Time Space. Start and end work at fixed times.1 Doing work or personal tasks at these times becomes a habit. It will be easier to know when to start and stop tasks, plus gauging how long a task will take can be based on how long work or personal time is. Preparing for these tasks during downtime will shorten them so they can be more quickly finished during work or personal time. Also, don’t break your own rules, work on work at work and home on home at home.2 A sharp separation keeps work from spill into home in the huge, chronic way typical to most professionals and business owners. To further keep things running smoothly, think of health topics like getting enough exercise and an ergonomic work space as much of a professional concern as a personal concern.1 If you get sick or are in pain constantly, it is more difficult to work and no longer a personal issue that should be taken care of on personal time.
Physical Space. It can be hard to keep focused on work at the proper times when working next to an over flowing laundry basket as it typical of small business owners and professionals today. Keep separate work and personal areas, each being the workiest and the homiest it can be.3 An office should be filled with only professional items to put you in the working mode, and a home space should be filled with only personal effects. Doing so creates a balance to keep each area from spilling into the other. The sharper the separation the better and once you have each space just how it should be, keep it that way. The more this habit is reinforced, the more your Time Space will be reinforced. Also, once at home or done working, change your clothes to something less professional.2 This signifies that work is done and you have your personal space.
Thought Space. All the previous steps make a foundation for the mindset of switching from home to work and back, the most important factor of all. To further create a solid mindset, have rituals or things that signify work or personal time and tasks have started.3 Chew gum, wear a suit, sit at your special desk. What it is is less important that it being performed. Many people will try to obtain this mindset without creating a specific time and a place (or rituals), and never find much success. So, be in your work space when it’s time to work. Once you get there, don’t multi-task. For the majority of people, it’s not a real thing.5 It leads to distractions which leads to other concerns which if you are working might just be…chores, then other personal concerns. Our entire system has just been compromised. Lastly, to make sure that your system isn’t compromised long-term, have a support system of friends and family to keep you emotionally and socially stable.4 Go out. Go on vacations. Being social is healthy and necessary, especially in an Alone Together, check it out, kind of work.
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