“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.” – Dr. Stephen Covey
It’s not uncommon to hear someone refer to themselves as a “multitasker”, and to do so in a positive way. We wear the title with pride; we consider it a compliment. Many of us are working full-time, attending classes, preparing for certification exams, married or in a committed relationship, raising kids, taking care of pets, and enjoying hobbies. We must use checklists in order to remember all the little tasks that need to be completed in the day. It can be exhausting just thinking about everything that needs to get done.
Throw a global pandemic into the mix, and it’s no surprise that many of us are struggling just to get by. The smallest tasks can feel overwhelming. But how do we balance it all? How can we remain multitaskers during a quarantine?
Firstly, we need to accept that we cannot get it all done. Things come up, we do have to multitask every so often, and that’s fine, but multitasking will not lead to success in the long term. Multitasking will only lead to stress and potential burnout.
“If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire.” – Brené Brown
So, what can we do to avoid burning out? How can we establish a healthy work life balance, even during a quarantine? Here are some quick tips that can help:
- Embrace Flexibility. Be flexible with your schedule, and the schedules of your team members. Not everyone is productive at the same time. Some of us are morning people, others are night owls. Our family demands may mean that we have non-work commitments during the morning. Not everyone’s home or family situation is the same. Be flexible with yourself, and with others.
- Have a designated workspace. We are working from home, which means that ‘home’ and ‘work’ are literally being mixed. Don’t let it. Having a designated workspace allows you to compartmentalize ‘work’ vs ‘home’. This works well for children that are remote learning also.
- Establish proper break periods during the day. Many of us may feel the need to check email the minute they wake up, or right before going to bed. The danger of this is that it can lead to you being in “work mode” 24/7. Nobody can sustain that, nor should they. Make sure you are following a schedule for eating meals, or for daily exercise. It doesn’t have to be the same rigid schedule every day, you can be flexible depending on other needs. But do make sure you are setting healthy boundaries for yourself.
- Turn off that computer at the end of the workday. Putting it to sleep just makes it easy to pop in and see if you received a new email. Shutting the computer down creates an obstacle for you, and it allows you the chance to disconnect from work.
Finally, allow yourself the chance to enjoy the weekend. Being quarantined and working remotely, it’s not surprise that the days are starting to blend into each other. Saturday can easily feel like Monday or Tuesday. Schedule some special activity during the weekend. My family and I will only play certain board games during the weekend. It helps us create that sense of the normal week, and it gives us something special to look forward to.
Stop trying to do it all. Nobody can get absolutely everything done. Instead, learn how to say no, and learn how to prioritize what is truly important. Rethinking your boundaries and developing a new paradigm around the notion of ‘work life balance’ will allow you to regain your power and help you to rediscover your sense of purpose.