You may (or may not) have noticed I haven’t been doing much blogging in the last week or so. The blame for this lays firmly at the door of work, too many deadlines, and my inability to find a work-life balance. Too many deadlines I’m used to. I’ve been doing the same job for a long time now and it is very much driven by timeframes I’ve no control over setting. The not being able to find a work-life balance I’m not so used to. In fact, I’d say it was the opposite.
I work from home which means I normally find a way, even when more than 9 to 5 is required, to fit work around home. Last night, with my project submitted, I had time to sit back and think about everything I’d done wrong over the last seven days. And so, before normal service resumes, and for anyone else who struggles the way I have, I thought I would share my top tips for how not to work from home.
1. Don’t get up, log-in at 5.30 AM and work until midnight. Working 17 hour days does not make you more productive, it makes you tired and irritable and that has a knock on effect on everyone around you. If you have to work more than 8 hours a day, set a limit and stick to it or risk turning your brain to mush and waking up to discover most of what you did was rubbish and needs to be done again anyway.
2. Don’t go to work in your pyjamas. The plus side of working from home is that you don’t need to be “suited and booted” to go to the office. The downside is that, when you are busy, you might be tempted to not get dressed at all. Whilst it’s one thing to check your email over that first cup of coffee, staying in your pj’s all day? Not a good idea. It blurs the lines between work and the rest of your life, making you more likely to work those 17 hour days. Plus, by the end of the day, you are likely to feel slightly grotty and more than a bit stinky.
3. Do not skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And definitely don’t skip all three, not just because food gives you energy but stopping and taking time to eats gives you the breaks away from your computer you need. Otherwise, you’ll end up fuzzy headed, distracted by hunger and, if you’re like me, you’ll all loose all ability to not reach for chocolate and spend the next month dieting.
4. Don’t keep saying yes. When you are stretched to capacity, people you work with will still keep asking you to do things because their lives go on and they still have deadlines to hit. Saying yes every time someone asks you for something not only makes your to do list longer but piles on pressure you don’t need. If you’re already pushed to work too many hours the chance of you being able to more is limited. Say so!
5. Don’t forget you have a life. When all is said and done and you’re old and grey (or in my case, older and greyer), your boss won’t be checking in to see if you are ok, your friends and family will. Or at least they will if they haven’t forgotten about you because you never made it to the pub for a drink or their first ballet performance.
For me, this last one is most important and I’m lucky everyone has been so understanding this week. They might not be again so this is my official promise to not forget my new rules, work less and live a little bit more. Any more “not to’s” I should add to the list?
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