I know most people don’t like to take work home with them. We’re still near the beginning of the year (and decade) and many of us are still examining our productivity routines. For some, their new year’s resolutions revolve around productivity. Are there ways you can make your day more efficient? Some new hacks or tricks to avoid having to take work home with you? Sadly, sometimes we are even encouraged to take work home and review it on the weekend. Last summer, the Wall Street Journal even wrote a story about how Sunday Night is the new Monday Morning.

Others may have resolutions that are a little more outcome-oriented. Maybe this is the year you finally get your estate plan drafted (or revised). For some, 2020 is the year you finally launch that new business and you’re looking for some business advice to help you along. This week, Elizabeth Grace Saunders has another good article in the Harvard Business Review about How to Leave Work at Work.

What’s the Nature of Your Job?

Whether you have to take work home with you depends on your job. There are plenty of jobs with clear definitions of when you’re expected to be working. For those times when you aren’t working, there is no “bleed” over and you are definitely off the clock. However, in 2020, many jobs seem to expand to fill your available time. Even when you are away from the office and off the clock, work responsibilities can weigh heavily on your mind. As we all know, the main culprit? Smartphones. Always having access to your work email and colleagues blurs that line between work and personal time.

How to Leave Work at Work

Saunders is a time management coach and her article shares 4 steps for you to use to leave your work at work:

  • Step 1: Define “After Hours”
  • Step 2: Have Mental Clarity
  • Step 3: Communicate with Your Colleagues
  • Step 4: Get Work Done at Work

If you have a set schedule, setting boundaries can be easier. You know when you are working, and when you aren’t. This type of schedule allows you to plan your personal life around your work hours. If not, then you can try to find times to put away your devices to have personal time. And when you are setting this schedule, think about your family and the values you are trying to teach them.

Saunders also stresses the importance of having a place to keep your tasks. You should be able to access your tasks at any time. Getting your to-do’s out of your mind will allow you to sleep much better at night. There are many different tools out there for you. I use a bullet journal and Omnifocus to keep my life organized. An important step to add to your schedule? Saunders suggests an end-of-workday wrap-up to review your tasks.

When communicating with your colleagues, it’s important to keep their expectations reasonable as it relates to your time commitments. You don’t need to be on email 24/7. But many people have that expectation. Getting ahead of that expectation with your colleagues can really improve your work-life balance. And when you are in better balance, you can even get your work done while you are at work!

Next Steps

It’s the start of a new decade. A good time for you to review your personal productivity. So, what are you waiting for? Try something new. You’ll never know what you’ll find.

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