So much of the week is consumed by our jobs. If you are one of the many employees that have shifted from going to the office to working from home, you may be feeling the pain of constantly being "on." What I mean is, you aren't sure how to create separation and cut off work and transition to being at home again. If you are using your kitchen table as your home office and virtual classroom for your kids, I'm sure the lines have begun to blur together. I started working from home back before it was a popular thing. I've had my fair share of conference calls while my kids were fighting in the background. I learned a lot from those days. I learned how important it is to define a space and set boundaries, both personal and professional. I also learned that it's important to take care of myself and not feel obligated to do everything perfectly. For this weeks' Sunday post, I'd like to kick the week off by talking about healthy routines that can lead to a manageable workweek.
Planning the night before - You've heard me say this in several posts and on my YouTube channel. Taking time to plan out your schedule is essential to managing your day. Planning allows you to forecast your time and figure out what you can control. I like to write things down somewhere. Use a calendar, sticky notes, journal; it doesn't matter. The goal is to make sure you can empty your mind of the things you know you need or want to accomplish and determine how those things will unfold throughout your day. Depending on my week, I will plan a range of activities for myself or my family. From meals, clothes when the kids were younger, service appointments, or whatever is needed. It's not only about the scheduling, but it's the cancellations too. If you know that you won't have time to do something, forecasting helps you see it and remove it from your schedule, so it doesn't cause problems later.
Prioritize Your Schedule - So, you will hear me say this all of the time. I learned this from a mentor years ago, and it has stuck with me. Schedule your priorities and then prioritize your schedule. There will always be a list of things you WANT to accomplish in a given day. It would be best if you determined what the non-negotiables are on that list. Everything isn't a priority. Give yourself permission to believe that.
Delegate what you can't manage - Are there items that you need to do but you can't manage on your own? Do you have a team that you can enlist to pick up the slack? Delegate out the smaller tasks so you can focus on the priority items. Get the kids involved. 2020 has shown us that we don't need to be Super Woman.
Personal Development When was the last time you invested in your own learning and development? Don't rely on your job to be the sole provider of your development opportunities. Consider finding learning options on your own. It does not have to be challenging or expensive. Finding a book that encourages personal growth, a podcast, or grabbing a course from a platform like Udemy, LinkedIn, or one of the many learning platforms that exist. There is also YouTube. You can find good content on any several free subjects (like the content we share from this platform).
Take time for yourself -The topic of self-care has increased in popularity. Self-care is not just about facials and spa treatments. It's about listening to your body, paying attention to your physical and mental health, and acknowledging and accepting your limitations. This means stop pushing yourself to do more with less when you don't have to. Take breaks. Be still. When was the last time you got more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep? Uninterrupted sleep? It's interesting how the culture has shifted. Now getting the proper rest deems you as lazy or implies that your hustle is weak. Proper rest supports a healthy immune system, gives you mental clarity, your skin looks better, and you're a nicer person in general. Have you ever been around a kid who misses nap time? They are scary and violent, lol. Get some rest!
Set clear boundaries - When the work-day is over, unplug. Log out of messenger apps that are connected to your work profile. Have a designated time to stop answering emails, and be clear with clients and co-workers that you are not checking email or voicemail after a certain time. It is important to have a start and finish time to your work-day to provide clear separation.
Define a space for work - Okay, so even as I say this, I understand that not everyone will have the luxury to separate their workspace from the rest of their living space. Our kids are attending school from home, and our spaces are just overrun with learning and work. I understand. But you can still define a space. If 8 AM to 6 PM, the kitchen is a shared workspace and classroom, that's fine. But if you can, by dinner time, the kitchen should return to its roots and become the kitchen again. Define and clean your workspace makes it clear that when the workday is complete, you get your home back.
No is a complete sentence - You can say no. If you can't do something or don't want to do something, no is honest. For your own well-being, sometimes it's necessary to reject a request or refuse an invitation. Let's normalize no longer taking on additional things, especially when we do not effectively manage everything else on our plate. Doing a lot of things doesn't make you look accomplished. Most of the time, you look frazzled and struggling. Saying no and offering whatever level of explanation you think is necessary is really okay.
We all experienced a lot last year. January 2021 almost feels like a GroundHog day in the making. Let's be intentional about taking care of ourselves and doing what is best for our families. I encourage you to find ways to be more efficient with the time you have, delegating tasks to focus on priorities and creating balanced spaces at home so when the workday and virtual school day ends, you can enjoy a home that feels like home. Our home is our safe, happy space. Doing our best to create boundaries to manage our changing obligations helps create a stress-free, organized work, and school week. You've got this...just breathe.
These are absolutely my thoughts...