Hello lovely friends,
Reflecting on the weekend that has just passed, it made me think about some of the issues that can be faced by the many people that work from home – that whole work life balance when they are both based in the same place!
Some are lucky enough to have a lovely outside office space or a house big enough to separate a specific area for working (I am presently working on my studio space myself in order to increase my distance between home and work time!) while, like me I have to work and live in the same environment.
I am as guilty as any, at times, for doing the typical checking my emails to see one from a client can have me clicking onto my hours log to ‘just do this one thing’ only to find that I have been working for a two hours!! (This happened to me when I had a job outside of the home too…eek!)
This is not a good way to work!! I know that sometimes ideas and creations come to mind that might help your client or to develop the work that you are doing for them and that is OK, but don’t get sucked into carrying out your general work. Find a useful place to ‘Park’ your ideas and information, such as your phone or a pretty notebook so that you can refer to it when you are back in ‘work mode’.
I am aware that it sounds a bit harsh, but having seen the effects and been a victim of work burnout, I am highly aware of the effects of not having work boundaries!
Not long ago, I worked for a small charity which only had six part-time staff. I would work all hours of the day for my love of the cause and the charity itself, getting to the office early and leaving late dealing with everyone’s requests and expectations and even taking work home for the evening and weekends.
I hit my ultimate burnout while in a meeting one day, being reduced to uncontrollable tears in a small room with my male Line Manager and a male colleague! I could not stop the tears or even tell them what was going on inside, I was destroying myself and couldn’t even ask for help in that moment! It was at that EXACT point that I decided to change what I was doing for my own health and well-being before it was too late!
Once in the safety of my own home, I took stead and realised that, you know what? The world is not going to implode, collapse, spin out of all proportion and turn every earth resident into a molecule!! (It is true, I tell you! I tried it!)
I changed my way of looking at the work I was doing and that expectations of others (yes, their work will ALWAYS appear more important that yours….in their eyes) and made the decision to do what is possible in the time available and to not bring anything home with me. Once I had reached my hours, I was finished. I would not answer the phone to colleagues when on my days off, I would not bring anything home with me (If I knew I could not meet a deadline, I would let people know and… ready for it…ask for help!)
My days off, evenings and weekends became relaxing and more importantly, MINE! I began sleeping better and seeing the world in a cheerful way again. I had rediscovered the work/life balance for this stage in my life!
I am not saying that this works for every situation, but I have learnt that I need to reflect regularly in the stages of my work and life to be sure that what I am doing is right for me, right now.
Now that I work from home I need to be strict with my time and expectations as it can be so easy to slip into ‘work mode’ when you should be in home mode! I have a beautiful notebook that I use to hold my weekly and daily reviews (noting down my personal and work commitments and prioritising accordingly) so that I can meet my deadlines along with keeping my mind free during my down times. If I have a thought about work, I don’t beat myself up for interrupting my ME time, I just note it down in my book or pop it into my phone. It really works!
Remember, you can do it with these three Rs!
REFLECT: What has worked before? Which jobs can you do quickly and get out of the way? when do you do your best work? Which do you enjoy? Which do you not?
REVIEW: What have you done? What is still to do? Have any deadlines changed? DO you have new tasks to complete? Are any more important than others? Do any require lots of head space and time?
REALISE: You can do the work! And more importantly, stay relaxed and maintain your work/life balance!
Please do let me know if this has helped you and of course, if you would like a more detailed article on weekly and daily reviews then drop me a comment and I will get it on my review list!
Keep smiling and don’t let work eat into your life!
Love and hugs, Sarah xXx