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Prior to 2020 and 2021, whether we worked from home or from the office, we had natural buffers and boundaries built around our pre and post workday.
Pre-pandemic, your day might have looked like this:
Wake up, go to the gym, shower, dress. Eat breakfast, maybe grabbed a cup of coffee, then out the door for your commute to work.
On the way home you had alone time in the car, train, or tram. Got petrol, picked up the kids, grabbed a couple of things from the shops, maybe even had an appointment of some kind (remember those?!).
Can you see how these natural buffers in our schedules helped create boundaries in our days?
Yes, you may have had a quick check of your calendar, scanned some emails, and thought about work before it actually starting, but you also had a set time to leave so you could get there on time.
Your quick checks and scans had a time limit.
They couldn’t go from “quick” and “scan” to “schedule” and “read”.
And once you got to the office, you likely didn’t start working as soon as you walked through the door. Instead, you probably put your jacket away, had a chat and check in with your co-workers, went to the break room to fill up your water bottle, and THEN were ready to open your laptop for work.
Again, see those natural buffers coming into play?
Even once you were work, you STILL had some breathing space before actually getting into it.
But then 2020 and 2021 happened, and most organisations moved to online/at-home workplaces.
Your bed was your desk.
Your home was your office.
Your kitchen was your breakroom.
Your lounge was your meeting room.
It was nothing to roll over, reach for your phone and start reading and responding to emails. To walk into the lounge room, jump on the laptop and start working.
No workout, shower, or breakfast.
No coffee run, commute, or co-worker chat.
And then there was the lack of real tea or lunch breaks.
We started packing in Zoom meetings every minute of the day.
There was no more “travel time” between meetings, so why not schedule back to backs?
We may have even started working on weekends.
We couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone, so why not keep plugging away at our projects and to do lists?
Before 2020 and 2021, we had buffers where we allowed our brains time and space to wake up, start slow, and ease into the day. Then to wrap up, slow down, and ease back into home life.
What I’m seeing more and more of in my work with clients, is that they no longer have set on/off office hours. They have no real boundaries or buffers before, during, or after work. And the reality of this is a huge negative effect on their mental and physical health, relationships, energy levels, and overall wellbeing.
Can you relate?
If so, and you want more energy and a clearer mindset, it’s time to get pro-active with how you structure time before and after your “working” day.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
The key is to create space between work and home, so you no longer feel like you’re pulled from one thing straight to the next. You no longer feel like you’re rolling from one to do into the other, with no buffer or down-time in between.
The habits, patterns, and routines you find yourself in today don’t have to be the ones that define you. They CAN be changed. They don’t have to be the ones you stick with.
Start today or start tomorrow.
Choose one boundary or buffer and (re)schedule and incorporate it into your day.
After a few days of creating these buffers and boundaries you’ll feel more relaxed and in flow. Less stressed and rushed. More thriving than surviving.
If any of this resonated with you and you’d like more tips on how to thrive, be sure to subscribe to my blog above, or take a look at my website www.janelbriggs.com where you can learn about my journal, coaching, and online programs.
While some of these changes might feel a bit forced at first, the amazing thing is that we’re able to create new habits, patterns, and routines. We’re able to (re)create boundaries and buffers around our work and home life.