Work is no longer 9-5. Heck, it’s not even 8-6. It can be 24/7 if you let it be.
Our phones go off every hour of the night with emails. We work with people in different timezones, causing what would usually be a quiet 7pm on a Wednesday to be a very popular 4pm for San Francisco co-workers. Our personal phone is our work phone, and sometimes it feels like there is no end.
Can you tell I’ve been there? Lately I’ve been trying to restructure my life a bit so that I can turn off my work brain and enjoy time doing what I love.
Here are the 4 tricks I’ve been following to ensure that I have more “me” time, especially since I’ve been traveling 3 of the 4 weeks for work this month. (See you next week DC, and San Francisco the week after that!)
Establish if you are a morning or evening person
I know I’m most productive in the morning, which means I try and plan meetings earlier in the day, get in earlier than my coworkers for some quiet time, and make sure I’m out the office door around 6pm so I can enjoy time at home and relax.
Prioritize work with a list
Sometimes I think “I have to make sure I do this today”… and then when 5 other things come up and I completely forget what is most important, I feel like I have to accomplish it all. By actually writing down my priorities (and re-prioritizing the list throughout the day), I can adjust my focus accordingly as tasks come in.
Block off time on your calendar
I recently started doing this and it has seriously been a game changer! I will look at my calendar in the morning and see that my let meeting ends at 4pm. I will be thrilled since that means I can leave around 6pm. But then as the day goes on it quickly fills up with more meetings and the next thing I know I have a meeting until 6:45pm that randomly appeared on my calendar. I have started to put a hold on my calendar starting at 6pm so that I no longer have to cross my fingers and pray a evening meeting won’t come up. Even blocking off an hour for lunch or 15 minutes for a quick walk around the block can be the perfect mental break.
Don’t loose sight of your hobbies
I love to read, I love to play tennis, I love to run. But when it comes time to finally get home after a long day, all I want to do it have a glass of wine and prop my feet up. I found that unless I consciously decide, “this morning I will wake up early and read over breakfast” I will just end up getting lost scrolling Instagram and not feeling like I accomplished anything for myself.
So this morning, I have my to do list for work organized, I have my calendar blocked off at 6pm, and I am enjoying my avocado toast while reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman.
How are you balancing work/life today? Any trips or tricks you live by?