Work/life balance is a tricky thing to manage. Some say there should be a “no excuse” policy to separate the two aspects of life. It may even sound like good advice to leave work at work no matter what, no deviation. But, that’s easier said than done.
It’s not unreasonable to accept the fact that jobs often warrant a little attention outside the office. Especially when the alternative is to stay away from loved ones in the office until all hours of the night “burning the midnight oil” in order to get things done. The good news is, there are ways to manage when you must take work home with you.
1. Give Everyone a Heads Up
If you have roommates or live with family members, the most important thing to do when you have to bring work home is to let them know. We all know it’s a bummer, but if you absolutely have to bring it home, make sure everyone is aware of the situation.
2. Set a Hard Stop
Once everyone knows the deal, determine how long you plan to work, then stop, whether you are “done” or not. This will ensure the work day does stop and not just change locations without end.
3. Define a Work Space
Don’t set up office in a high-traffic, high-distraction area of your home. Make sure you will be able to set up and spread out if necessary in order to focus and get what you need to get done, done.
4. Stay Focused
If you have to bring the work home, work. Do Not Multitask. Save starting dinner, putting a few things in the wash, playing with the kids/pets until you get to the self-determined time limit.
The most important thing to remember when you take your work home with you is to make sure it is the exception and not the rule. Diminish the need to take work home with you by being more productive in the office. Sounds obvious, right? Start with simple things so work stays at work. For example:
- Minimize trips to common areas, water cooler colleague’s work area throughout the day when a looming deadline is hanging over your head.
- Say no to additional tasks when your inbox is almost full.
- If you need help, ask for it.
- If you can delegate tasks to team members, do it.
There are ways to achieve a healthy balance between work and life, you just need to make sure you choose wisely. Take ownership of your actions during the workday and be deliberate and disciplined when you absolutely, positively have to take work home with you. If it becomes the rule and not the exception the only person to blame is you.
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