Are you working from home, saving lots of time by not commuting, but wondering where all that time is going? Last week, I had four leadership coaching clients tell me that that their average working day is two to three hours longer than when they were commuting. That’s no surprise—it’s way too easy to accept that lunch meeting or keep working at the end of the day or hop on your laptop after dinner. Before you know it, the ten-minute email check has turned into an hour and a half of work and it’s 9:00 p.m.
It’s time to press the pause button, so you don’t go down the burnout escalator and affect your mental health, productivity, and overall happiness.
What boundaries can you put in place?
- Set routines to differentiate work time and home time.
- Physically leave your workspace for breaks and lunch as if you are working in the office.
- Communicate clearly with people in your household about respecting each other’s workspaces and meeting times.
- Make a daily schedule with family and include time together in the schedule.
- Establish email expectations with your teams and department, for example, not sending anything before 8:00 a.m. or after 7:00 p.m. (Yes, this is difficult, but give it a try.)
- Work ‘split shifts’ to manage childcare and find a babysitter even if only for a few hours.
- Be aware of participating in too many video calls in a row as this has been shown to be fatiguing.
- Remember that sometimes saying no is saying yes to impact.
What can you do to boost your well-being and resilience?
- Every Sunday, make a master schedule of your exercise sessions and meals for the week and block these times in your calendar. You will quickly notice a positive difference in your energy level. My friend Donna, an attorney, blocks out an hour every week for her Pilates class. She told me that not only is she more energized and productive but her mental health benefits as well.
- Schedule fun breaks for recharge. It’s great to be engaged in your career, but build in mini-breaks during the day. Take two minutes to meditate or do a few deep breathing exercises; go for a walk at lunch; listen to a podcast; or turn off your phone, brew a cup of tea, and head over to your calm, happy place with a good book.
- Who are the friends that energize you? Have you connected with them this month? Make time for the connections that nourish you!
What are you doing to keep clear boundaries and make time for yourself? Please let me know specific strategies that are working for you by emailing me at [email protected].