Setting yourself up to succeed at work and home

Some days it’s really hard to leave work behind at the end of the day. I’ve put together some of my tricks to walking away without feeling guilty about it. Because let’s be honest, some days you leave work and feel guilty about not getting something specific done or just more done in general. You leave wondering what you even accomplished that day. And some days you’re blessed with the gift of productivity and it’s really easy to leave the office. So here are the things that I’m trying to do to make it easier to leave at the end of the day.

WHAT I DO DURING THE DAY

  • Plan your day. As often as my schedule allows, I start the morning by looking at the things I have to get done and map out my day to make it a reality.
  • Be realistic about what you can get done in a day. I’ve failed a lot. It’s usually when I map out my day minute-by-minute. At one time I thought the definition of productive was having every minute assigned. I added in break times to run to the bathroom or get a snack. However, I quickly learned that a phone call, email, or drop-in can get you off track real fast. And then I felt like I had failed in my tasks for the day. Allow those unknowns to “disrupt” your day.
  • Take a break. Sometimes you need to refocus your brain on something non-work related to get back on track. Go talk to a friend. Walk around your office. Step outside for a few minutes.
  • Leave the office for lunch. On my really stressful days, I leave for lunch. When it’s nice out, I eat my lunch outside and soak up some vitamin D.
  • Give yourself a cutoff time. If you’re like me, the end of the workday is a guide and can easily be ignored. Follow your cutoff rules and you’ll start your night feeling successful about doing one thing. You may feel guilty about not getting something done, but it’s better about not getting it done and not following your cutoff time.

WHAT I DO AT NIGHT

  • Be realistic about what you can or can’t do that evening. I learned that bringing work home when I don’t have time to do it, only makes me feel more guilty and ruins my start to the next day.
  • Set limits to working at night or on the weekend. Sometimes you can’t help it, but don’t get into the routine of working every night. It’s hard to break. It also changes your attitude during the workday. Instead of “get it done now” you think, “I can always do it tonight.”
  • Be present at home. Play with your family or get your home life things done. It makes you feel better and helps you take a breath of something outside of work. In the end, making it easier to get back into work the next day.
  • Be active. I’ve found that a walk with my family can make me forget about all my stress or worries from the day.
  • Eat a healthy meal. The act of cooking or eating something healthy helps me reset my mind. {Because sometimes my husband makes the meals.}
  • Know yourself. Some nights, after the kids go to bed, I need to just be on the couch cruising social media. It’s a waste of a “productive” night, but I don’t let my brain get worked up about it. Sometimes I need the simple act of nothing to recharge.
  • Get more sleep. After a particularly stressful day or week, I go to bed 30 minutes earlier.
  • Get your work done! If you have to work at night, be quick and efficient. I’ve had a number of night working that has kept me up until midnight and then make me unmotivated the next day. Get in and out, no procrastinating!

Relaxing mother-son time

It’s hard to get the right work-life balance. Set yourself up for success so you can leave work with a guilt-free conscious.

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A needed break from the chaos

I’ve recently realized that it’s hard to get back into life when life is so chaotic. I was traveling 11 days during January. In writing, it doesn’t feel as heavy as life felt while traveling. That’s probably because my first trip was seven days. That’s a long time to be away from your family, on a work trip, right after a three-week holiday break. A seven-day vacation is a long time to be away from your family, but it doesn’t involve endless work. I switched time zones and had to be “on” starting at 7 am {6 my time}. I did a solid six hours and then took a one to two hour break to workout and just sit on my hotel bed. Then back at it for another eight {plus} hours. LONG DAYS. It seems a little first world -ish to complain, but work travel isn’t a break from life. It’s more work than the typical day because you don’t get to turn work off and you get less sleep than at home. Not to mention that the emails don’t stop while you’re traveling.

Sometimes it overwhelms me to go on long trips because I have to prepare for the trip itself for work and home, then go on the trip, come back and wrap up the trip, and then catch back up from the trip at work and home. It’s exhausting to do all the laundry and cleaning before a trip and come home and have to do it again. I forget that home life continues while I’m gone. I’ve found it hard to jump right back in where I left off. And let’s be honest, I don’t always leave the house and family all nice and organized. Sometimes we’re too busy for any prep and I just leave.

I’m happy to not have anything on the calendar until March. I’m looking forward to getting back into a healthy balance of work and life. Excited to get back into my morning workout routine and even more excited to get back on my clean eating meal plan. We started off the weekend by taking the boys to a children’s museum and it was the perfect way to get back into family life! After a couple of weeks of no fun, we all needed a good activity that could entertain and wear everyone out. I might even find some personal time to write now that I’ll be home for a while…

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Flying planes and making music.

 

 

Real life: taking care of the home

Can I take a few minutes and be real? Really real? 

I’m pretty awful at taking care of my house. It’s clean, but it’s not. It’s free of dirt and crumbs, but it’s a mess. I try to clean bathrooms once a month and wish I’d do it every weekend.

After a really long day, when I don’t have much fight left, my house is the first thing that’s dropped. It usually takes all I have left to be even-tempered and fun for my children. Since I’m being honest, fun is a stretch. I think it’s a phase, but Maximus has spent the last week complaining that he hasn’t done anything fun. I may need to step up my game a bit!

There’s a subconscious goal in my head. Bedtime. After I reach that goal, it’s like autopilot to the couch. Before I know it I’ve been sucked into the comfy cushions and I’m cruising the social media world on my phone. Forty-five minutes later and I call the night a wash. It’s the most unproductive part of my day. Believe me, I get sucked into a lot during the work day and have had my fair share of unproductive days.

I can’t exactly remember what my night life was like before Quinten. I’d like to hope that I was a little more productive. I do remember telling myself that the house could wait once I had a baby who never slept through the night. After all, babies don’t keep. Now I can’t get myself out of the routine. It’s bad. I should be cleaning the kitchen or meal planning. Instead colors and drawings liter the counters. Random items are thrown together to make meals (Usually by my husband because I walk in the door when they start getting hangry.) I know these times are hard. The days are long but the years are short. I do feel that. But I also feel that we need to find some kind of healthy balance in our home. I’m not sure how to figure that out with two jobs that constantly pulli us back in, two children who require constant attention, and a house to look after.

What suggestions do you have?