Make a Fresh Start – Day 12

Seana smiling over a clock.

Hello and welcome back to “Make a Fresh Start!” We are having fun all month looking at small changes we can make that will reinvigorate us and set us on a positive path for the new year.

Today’s idea continues with the theme of “lifestyle.” The pandemic – and our attempt to manage it – has resulted in many people both working and learning from home. While this has the upside of reduced commuting time, it can also carry with it a specter of “never being done.” Many people face the pressure of needing to respond to messages 24/7. Zoom and Teams calls are not limited by time zones. Plus, since we aren’t leaving an office and going home, it is harder to know when to work and when to relax.

It is critical, therefore, to establish some boundaries around our “work” life, including:

  • When will we start working each day?
  • When will we take breaks, and where will we take them?
  • At what time will we take a meal break, and how will we step away from work when doing so?
  • At what time of day will we give ourselves permission to be “off the clock?”
  • How will we split up the hours of the workday? (e.g. meetings, studying, calls, research, writing, reading, errands, etc.)
  • Will our schedule differ by day of the week? (e.g. late night on Thursday night, group project meeting on Saturday morning, etc.)
  • Where will I be when working? If I live with others, how can I communicate when I am working and should not be interrupted?

The reality is that it is exhausting to be ‘on call’ all the time. Even doctors alternate weekends ‘on call,’ because they need a time to truly step away from the pressure and focus on their personal lives.

Working from home can be challenging. If this is your situation and you haven’t already done so, take a few minutes today to put some limits on your working hours. We all have responsibilities, but we will quickly burn out if we don’t block out time to unwind and unplug guilt-free.

What time do allow yourself to disconnect and be finished each day? Is it the same each day, or does it vary?

Make a Fresh Start icon, a plan with a fresh green leaf

6 thoughts on “Make a Fresh Start – Day 12”

  1. Totally awesome advice and so timely, too. Yesterday, I was working well into the evening after having taken a break for dinner and running errands. But I agree there needs to be a time set for when we are truly off the clock. And I think I may need to take a look at my schedule a bit better as I am truly burning both ends of the clock here many days.So thanks again for the awesome advice.

    1. It’s very hard when work and home are the same place. I’ve seen a lot more of this struggle since COVID, but those who have been working from home have had this battle always. It is hard to actually “turn off the light,” but I think it is helpful to know when you can relax and not feel the need to be on call.

  2. Holy cow, you are nailing it. I have always worked at home and it’s challenging, but nearly impossible with two kids remote schooling, a husband now working from home, and a new baby. Oh, and that super loud house construction.
    So we’re all playing musical offices/classrooms right now and it’s not feasible.
    Cassidy is like, “How does anyone work at home??”

    1. It is very hard to work at home, even under the best of circumstances. The “work” is always with you. In your case, triple difficult! I can’t imagine how you are getting anything done. Yet somehow, one foot in front of the other and all that, it is getting done, so good for you:)

  3. This is a problem many retired people face too. Although they don’t have the pressure of having to do something as working people do, it’s hard to figure out how to manage the newfound time. Your suggestion to designate times to relax and to be productive is good in both cases. It is necessary to realize that it isn’t healthy to consistently be doing something productive no matter how pressing. I like your suggestions.

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