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?