In my previous post, 3 Ways To Make Time For What Matters Most, we discussed why we seem to have less time and how to make more time for the most important things in our lives. However, even with taking those practices into account, we may still find ourselves overwhelmed with our to-do lists. We tend to think about home schedules and to do lists while we’re at work, and think about work while we’re at home.
How do we balance work life and home life?
Stop using the word “balance”. The definition of “balance” is an even distribution of weight of someone or something. Work and home are not, and should not be, even, and therefore, our time should not be evenly distributed between the two. Rather, take a good honest look at how much time we should be spending at work/working and how much time we should spend at home. Once we have that nailed down, we can schedule that time to maximize our productivity.
Be 100% present. We can’t be productive if our head isn’t in the game. If we’re working, but can’t stop thinking about if little Johnny’s baseball uniform is clean for the game, how productive can we be at work? And later, at the game, we go ahead and check our work email and miss Johnny hit a home run! When we’re at work, be at work. When we’re at home, be at home. We have to make sure that our minds are at the same place our bodies are.
Make lists. There will be times when our brains wander off to home and/or work when we’re not there. Usually, it is something important that we shouldn’t ignore. Write it down. Keep a running list on your phone for work and one for home. When you think of something, add it to the list, and then go back to being present. This way you won’t forget that important thing, but you’re giving yourself permission to keep your attention where it needs to be.
How do we get the most out of our time?
Block scheduling. This is new to me and I’m loving it! This form of scheduling takes our cyclical tasks and blocks them together. For instance, if we spend thirty minutes every Sunday to make a weekly meal plan, spend an hour and plan the whole month. Go ahead and make the grocery lists too.
Schedule Social Media. Have you ever found yourself sitting there, scrolling through Facebook, mouth slightly open, and have no clue what you’re looking at? No? Is that just me? When we scroll aimlessly on social media, we can actually go into a trance-like state, and not even see what is in front of us. We waste so much time watching videos we don’t care about when that time could be spent doing something productive. But… it’s fun! I get it. I love social media too! We just have to be mindful of how we use it. Schedule thirty minutes to respond to notifications, and scroll social media. Once the thirty minutes is over, stop. It’ll be hard at first, but eventually, you’ll love it!
Turn off phone notifications. What?! Am I crazy? Not in this case. I can’t tell you how many times I find myself glancing at my phone because a notification popped up. New email from Target, New message on Facebook, so-and-so liked your photo on Instagram. I made a tally mark for each time a notification distracted me from my work one day. 33 times, I stopped what I was doing to look at my phone because I saw a notification pop up in my peripheral vision. 33 times! These distractions are giving us a new version of ADD. Turn them off. Schedule a time to check/respond to email. Schedule your social media. Don’t let it distract you from doing what you need to accomplish.
Check your schedule before bed. Make sure you double check everything the night before. This helps to mentally prepare you for the next day.
These are small, but mighty tips in making sure your home and work lives coexist in a healthy way. Everyone wants a piece of our time. It’s our responsibility to make sure we protect our time and spend it where it matters most.
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people. Colossians 3:23
Commit your work to the Lord, then it will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically. Romans 12:11