Balancing Work and Home: The Importance of Boundaries

There are only so many hours in a day, and sometimes we find ourselves struggling to make time for both our personal and professional lives. However, with the time crunch, does it sometimes seem like you are taking your work home with you, or that you are taking your family issues to the office?

In order to enjoy enhanced productivity, more relaxing downtime and a greater sense of sanity in general, it is crucial to keep “work” and “home” responsibilities separate. This may seem difficult, but really, all it takes is some creative scheduling.

On scheduling, Professor Calvin Newport of the Department of Computer Science at Georgetown University, says:

“Scheduling forces you to confront the reality of how much time you actually have and how long things will take. Now that you look at the whole picture you’re able to get something productive out of every free hour you have in your workday. You not only squeeze more work in but you’re able to put work into places where you can do it best.”

The reason that many people take their work home with them is that they feel they do not have time to finish it during the day. However, when you are working during off-hours, you may be sacrificing time with your family. You may feel stressed, you may skip meals to get an extra few emails written, and your sleep may suffer since you are overburdened.

If this goes on for a long time, some of your relationships may suffer – not to mention your own physical and mental health. Proper scheduling – assigning a specific time to each task – can help you to keep your work at work, so that it does not filter into your personal time.

Similarly, if we are bringing personal matters to the office, it can be highly distracting to everyone. No boss wants to walk around the corner and see their employee gluing glitter onto holiday cards at their desk. And, while our kids do call us at work sometimes, the receptionist may get annoyed if she has to take five calls a day from your daughter telling you about her school play, or reminding you of upcoming events.

Work life balanceThe solution? Schedule things at home, too. If there are important activities that need to be done, treat them as seriously as work responsibilities, and schedule them during your time at home. Schedule your work so that you can actually appear at the school play, and are aware of all the upcoming school activities. Then spend your workday focusing on your tasks. Instruct your family to only call if it is an emergency, or during your lunch hour.

Professor Newport states, “Assigning work to times reduces the urge to procrastinate. You are no longer deciding whether or not to work during a given period; the decision is already made.”

So, for the New Year, make a resolution to start allocating your time wisely, and bring some balance to your life.

-The Alternative Daily


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