After we moved to being isolated in our homes, the biggest questions have been how exactly and what way should one work and stay productive in the new environment. How does one reach their goals from home?
- What is your work-life balance?
- Do you think there is a need for a balance?
- When do you stop working?
It is clear to most of us that we work much more productive at home than in our offices. The only drawback is that for me, working by myself is unsustainable in the long run. I tend to grow tired and overall feel that my work matters less.
But if we are more productive at home, that means that we must finish our tasks much faster than before. Where did all of that extra time go?
My answers and more questions
- My work-life balance consists of balancing out everyday work with some fun activities that I can do with my family.
It can be going to the restaurant, or it can be by going to the market on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. That has mostly been the only time when I went to where there were some people. Sport also has been one of the things that got me out of the house, which is widely underestimated. The amount of productivity and happiness boost that I get is much greater than what I would get by lying in bed and checking Instagram for the same amount of time.
- The balance is clearly the only way not to burn out and fall to being the slave of bad habits.
As long as we are happy and able to work productively, we are much happier than otherwise. Plus if we are working for the long term and not some immediate reward, the work-life balance is the only sustainable way to get there.
- That is one of the questions that tie both of the questions above. At what point during the day do you stop working completely?
I have been experimenting with 2 ways. First is — you stop when you finish all of your tasks. Sometimes I finished at 12:00 and sometimes I finished at 24:00. That mostly guarantees that you fully do your job with no small bits and pieces that get ignored and put into the back burner. This is clearly sustainable and is very easy to do as you have a clear goal of what you need to do. The rest of the time is free for you to enjoy.
The main issues that I see with this approach are that we are putting so much pressure and responsibility on ourselves or our boss(if you are working for someone) to set enough and correct goals that will lead to the wanted outcome. The problems start when the goals are too demanding that you physically unable to finish them in any way in the time that is required. Or because your goals are too easy and if you only do them, you will not get far in life and your career.
An additional drawback is that the guilt that you feel when you finish everything you needed to do for the day at 12:00 and have the rest of the day free for yourself. Every time that happens, I cannot enjoy the time off whatsoever as I am thinking of how productive and selfish I am being. The worst part is that I am not certain if that voice is correct or not.
Every time that happens, I start adding myself more daily habits and goals that I need to reach to occupy more time so that I don’t guilt myself when not working.
This might result from the stereotypical view that working hard is what matters, not working productively.
The second way to finish your day when you are alone can be the same as how we used to do it back in the office — at a certain time, and it didn’t matter if we did all the tasks that we had set for the day or not.
Even though this does seem good in theory, this time limit doesn’t achieve a single thing in reality. I remember forcing myself to find work and spending hours doing something that I solved in 5 minutes the very next day. Also, work sometimes requires you to work more. I have always come much earlier to the office or left much later to make sure to finish all the tasks that I had at hand.
Out of the two, I think that there is a need for a mix.
After constant experiments and iterations, I have come to this conclusion:
There must be a hard cap on the amount of work that you do daily. It can sometimes be when you would usually stop working back in the office. That doesn’t mean that it must be religiously followed. It can be adjusted and shifted depending on many factors.
I feel that the second most important thing is to plan your day accordingly. If you think you will need 1 hour to complete the task and you spend 15 minutes and finished it? Good for you and you get a prize of resting and having more time for yourself.
I mean that your predicted time spent on work for the day must roughly equal the amount of time you would spend in the office. If you are faster and more productive, your reward is rest and being more happier.
Overall, I feel that it will take time and experimentation to find what works best for you like everything. Maybe someone smart will give us the perfect formula that will just work and will make everyone happy.
Also, any further talking about this might lead us into the path of whatever is considered work and why we are doing it in the first place. It is a long and hard road that is ahead of us.
Stay safe and Merry Christmas.