Life-work Balance: Avoid Common Time Wasters, Get It Done And Go Home.

Aug 06, 2022

Life-Work Balance: Avoid common time wasters, Get It Done and Go Home.


That old saying "work smarter, not harder"

Everyone has heard it or said it at some point, but this saying gets overlooked or discounted often. It may be a cliché to us now, but it does have merit. Life now is crazy and hectic, but we can always be looking for ways to reduce our effort. How can you make this easier on yourself and work smarter?

Most of us can't do anything about the amount of time that we have to spend at work. But that doesn't mean we have to stay any longer than that.

Some common "time wasters" to avoid

"Where do I start?"

Starting is often the hardest part of any project. Not knowing where to start can cause people to misuse their time. 

Think about any project as if it were a writing assignment. The best place to start would be making a rough outline. Make a list of every step you can think of that you need to complete the project. The smaller you can break down the steps the better. 

Then put them in order of what needs to happen first. This makes a road map of the steps that you need to see the project through to completion. This extra step can save a lot of time. Plus if you make this a habit, then it becomes easier to break things down and it will take less time.

"I’m stuck and I don’t know how to get unstuck"

We touched on this before but staying stuck on a particular task is common. A popular way to avoid this is to use things like the Pomodoro Technique. In the 80s, Francesco Cirillo used his kitchen timer to set time windows in an attempt to focus his studying.[164] It's called the Pomodoro Technique because the timer was shaped like a tomato. And "pomodoro" means tomato in Italian.

The standard program recommends 25-minute intervals. Each followed by a short break of 3-5 minutes. After each interval you change subjects or move your focus to a different task, and after 4 you take a longer break. This method can wear you out, especially at first. But the benefits of intense focus for short amounts of time can improve productivity. Especially with breaks between.

It definitely takes practice, but start slowly with just a few intervals a day. Focusing on a particular task for 25 minutes sounds like nothing. Until "20 minutes in" when you realize it's only been 5 minutes...

"I can’t do this"

One of the most insidious is one that can last a lifetime, if allowed. It's the fear that you're not capable of accomplishing what you want to do.

This may come from your Attachment Style. But it's still something that can be overcome. Something that you can turn into a belief in your abilities. You are the one that has to live your life, believe in your abilities and your potential. Just that belief alone will make your life easier.

Start small and slow. Set achievable goals and find a reward system that works for you. Make yourself snacks to keep your energy up. Get enough sleep and start with a loose schedule that can get more defined once you know what you need.

So how do you work "smarter?"

The simple answer is that there is no simple answer, there are no one-size-fits-all methods. The important thing is that you experiment to find what works for you. Find out what motivates you, what keeps your head in the game. For some people making checklists is what works, for others it's temptation bundling. 

Remember to congratulate yourself for victories no matter how small they may be. You can choose what feelings that you will give energy to. Even a small failure can be viewed as a win if you put the emphasis on being proud of yourself for trying. 

This will take a lot of practice. Truly changing your outlook and your habits takes time and determination. Finding the best ways to reach your goals is worth it because it is hard. Believe in yourself, you can do it.

Now... go home.

This is the most important part, going home. Give yourself cues to let your brain know that work is over. This is especially important when working from home. 

Do things like change your clothes, create an after-work playlist, or meditate. Change the mood and do whatever you can to get work off of your mind.

We all have a tendency to think about lingering issues that weren't resolved at work. This is not to say that you have to completely forget any frustrating moments that happened that day. Having a way to vent and move on, either through a friend or a counselor or therapist, can be vital. 

You don't want to bottle up feelings, so finding a healthy way to relieve that pressure is key to relaxing. 

Continue Your Journey