Use this time-management trick to create boundaries between your work and home life during the pandemic

woman reading a book

Summary List Placement
Many people have been logging longer hours during the pandemic. That could be partly because working remotely means there aren’t formal signals that the workday is over.
To avoid half-working and half-browsing Twitter all night, schedule an activity for right after the workday so you’re obligated to shift your mindset. 
That’s according to “The New Corner Office” by time-management expert Laura Vanderkam.
Vanderkam observes that parents tend to better at setting boundaries between work and home because they often have hard stops for when they have to tend to their kids.

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In “The New Corner Office,” time-management expert Laura Vanderkam describes how she’d spend nights earlier in her career, when she was working from home as a freelance writer:

“I would spend the evenings half working and half surfing the web. I wasn’t relaxed, but I wasn’t getting much done either.”

I felt very seen by this particular passage. Since Insider Inc. sent employees home in mid-March, I’ve filled my evenings much the same way Vanderkam describes filling hers in the past: laptop open, a little bit browsing furniture for my new home but also weeding through my work inbox, a little bit checking Twitter but also rewriting my to-do list for the following workday.

I’m hardly the first person to notice that, when work and everything else happen in the same physical space, there are fewer cues signaling the transition from work life to home life. But I do think Vanderkam, who is a time-management expert and the author of several books on productivity, presents a nice practical solution to the problem.

Simply put: Schedule an activity for the end of the workday. That way, you’re effectively forcing yourself to shift your mindset and move on to something else. Vanderkam writes that what helped her earlier in her career (this was years before the pandemic) was “joining three community choirs,” so that she had to stop work at 6 pm three days a week.

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Vanderkam’s advice on boundary-setting is welcome: People appear to be working longer hours during the pandemic than they were before, at least as measured by their online activity. According to Microsoft’s study of its own employees, it’s three extra hours; the online-security company NordVPN found it’s four additional hours in the US. A recent analysis by Harvard researchers found workdays around the world are nearly 49 minutes longer, on average.

Taking breaks from work is critical to your performance

At the moment, when many of us are practicing social distancing and living most of our lives online, those after-work activities might be virtual. But at least you’ll have a hard stop (or maybe a soft pause) on work.

And even a virtual knitting meetup, or a Zoom happy hour with friends, or a visit to your favorite museum from your couch will consume enough energy and attention so that it’s harder to think about work.

These respites aren’t nice-to-haves, either. Taking daily breaks from thinking about work is key. Rest and recovery are critical …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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