1. Have a Dedicated Workspace
When you’re done with work, leave it “at the office.” If you’re still going into the office, make it a point to use your commute home as a time to decompress. Listen to a podcast, think about how you’d like to spend some time tonight with the kiddos or your hubby, think about anything but work. If you’re working from home, have a makeshift “office” even if it’s just a corner of your kitchen bar. When you’re done with work, put your work materials away, and leave the office. Just because you work from home, and then live at home, doesn’t mean work has earned a right to live in your home after hours.
2. Set Boundaries at Work and in Your Personal Life
Stick to a schedule, don’t do other peoples jobs, set clear expectations on deadlines, etc. Set boundaries in your work life just as you do in your personal life. If a friend wants to go out after you’ve had a long day, you say thank you, but no. If a coworker is asking for your help at 9pm on a Tuesday…employ the same logic. Unless, you know, the building is burning down or something.
3. Establish a Schedule and a Morning/Evening Routine
Start and end your day in control and focused on YOU. Whether this be a mindful and intentional commute, a mindful cup of coffee and a 15 min journaling session at night, use these times of the day as your you time, and do not permit work stress to intrude on it.
4. Embrace the Pomodoro Method
Or as I like to call it – the tomato technique. This technique essentially enables you to work with the time you have by breaking it into chunks of working and break time. The original technique used 25 min intervals followed by a 5 minute break, and after 3-4 work intervals employed a longer break (20-30mins).
However, I like to work in terms of task OR time based intervals. If a task is relatively quick, I decide to knock it out then take a break. If a task is very long, I’ll use timer intervals (they can be longer or shorter, whatever works for you). The point is to alternate between intentional and focused work periods free of distractions, and breaks where you are allowed to rest your mind. The result is increased efficiency and decreased fatigue.
5. Make Time for Hobbies and Personal Wellness
Prioritize these just as much -if not more than – your work. By this I don’t mean blow off work in order to pursue your personal hobbies and get a workout in, however I DO mean that you should treat those things as hard meetings on your calendar just like you do with work.
If you have a workout scheduled at 8am but find yourself thinking you should start work early because a deadline is approaching – ask yourself; will you really be at your best if you can’t even keep an appointment with yourself to prioritize your self care? Chances are taking care of yourself will help you take care of work.
6. Communicate with Your Manager and Loved Ones
Finally, the simplest one of all; communicate. Communicate with your coworkers and supervisors, communicate with your loved ones, and communicate with YOURSELF. Be honest if you are overwhelmed and need some help, or need some flexibility. The people around you want you to succeed and want the best version of you – and will likely be very willing to work with you on how to achieve that.
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