For those of us working at home due to the Covid-19 quarantine, you may have started to notice that there’s not much separation between your work life and home life. We’re working where we watch Netflix, we’re exercising where we sleep, and we’re going to Zoom birthday parties in the kitchen. Not sure about you, but this can start to get a little overwhelming.
Normally, its not like this. We’re able to switch from “work mode” to “home life” when we physically leave our place of work. We turn this psychological switch when we clean up our desk, turn off our computer, and head out of the office. For most of us, this means work is done and our “mental real estate” has opened up for hanging with friends, maybe watching a show, or just relaxing at home.
This switch is healthy and necessary!
Living in “work mode” all day everyday is a great way to burn out and increase stress. We need time for purpose-driven work, relaxation, and play!
When we work from home, its not as easy to flip the switch that takes us out of “work mode”. We don’t get the change of physical environment to help us out. So we have to create routines that do it for us.
One of the most effective tricks you can use is implementing a Hard Stop.
A Hard Stop is a non-negotiable cut-off time for all work related activities.
For example, my Hard Stop is usually at 3 pm. After 3 pm I am not allowed to do anything work related. Not check emails, answer clients, finish projects – nothing. When 3:01 hits, I take a deep breath and feel good saving tomorrow’s work for tomorrow. The rest of my day is filled with talking to friends, personal growth work, reading, working out, cooking – whatever; it doesn’t matter, as long as it’s my own thing.
In order for a Hard Stop to be effective, you have to honor it! There’s no, “Oh well let me just finish up this last thing, it’ll only take a couple minutes…”.
Honor your Hard Stop because you care about your “me-time”! Because your self-care is just as non-negotiable as any work task.
Maybe even more so.
Treating it as such will help us create more balance and relieve stress during this hectic and unfamiliar time!