How to Make Sure Working From Home Doesn’t Mean You’re Always Working
A strategy to prevent the work day from consuming your life
When large swaths of the U.S. population transitioned to work from home in March 2020, they lost that critical physical boundary between their work domain and other life domains. As a result, those facets of life have bled into each other, with work often taking precedence.
A September 2021 study showed Americans’ work week has gotten 10 percent longer; it determined the length of a workday based on when employees sent their first and last messages each day.
What does that mean?
It means we’re spending more time logged on — but it doesn’t necessarily indicate we’re getting more done.
Many of us are so distracted and unproductive at home that our work schedules are inadvertently taking over the entire day.
It’s tragic but not surprising.
At home is a set of distractions that we previously didn’t have access to during the workday — plus, zero external accountability to prevent us from taking part in them.
You might find yourself thinking, Oh, let me just throw in a load of laundry before writing that report, or I can’t focus — maybe watching just one short Netflix show wouldn’t hurt. And there’s no one around to stop you.
The office comes with its own trip-ups, but everyone in an office is there to work (supposedly!). And studies show that we work better when we have an audience.
If we are to confine our work to working hours, then we have to become Indistractable at home.
Timebox your calendar
Timeboxing is among the most well-studied and powerful methods for getting things done — far more effective than a mere to-do list.
Use a schedule maker to box out periods of time to work on specific tasks each day. That way, when you find yourself chopping vegetables for dinner when your timeboxed calendar says you should be answering emails, you’ll know you’re distracted.