How to Stop Letting Work Suck All of Your Free Time

Is work spilling into your home life and you don't know how to keep the balance? Try these two tips for finding that work-life balance.

This is the issue of when work starts to bleed into your free time or it kind of sucks all of your free time and you find yourself saying “Why am I working all the time? I could be enjoying myself.” It's that fine balance between wanting to get things done, be productive and make money; compared to spending time with family, spending time with loved ones, friends, enjoying yourself. It can definitely be a struggle in a battle. Let's talk about that.

I was actually talking about this in a Facebook group with a couple of people and both Laura and Jenna commented that this is the specific issue they have. They find that they're more productive towards the evening, but as they're working in the evening, their husband will come home and he wants to spend time with them or time to make dinner and that turns into evening activities that feel like “I don't want to do that” part because I’m still trying to be productive and I actually feel more productive than I'm working right now. And so, it's this tension between the two. Right?

The first tip would be the statement about when we're most productive.

And so, are you saying that some people start to get into the mindset of “I'm only productive when _______." “I'm only productive when I have everything on my desk lined up perfectly” or “I'm only productive at night because I'm a night owl.” And so, I will throw that back to you and question it and say like, are you sure you're only productive at 5:00 PM or do you think you're productive at 5:00 PM because that's when you start to realize that the evening is in front of you and you have to get this done because maybe it's a deadline that’s due that night or you're trying to meet a client's needs etc.

Is it really 5 p.m. or could you also do work at 4:00 PM or 3:00 PM. I'm not asking for the extreme here because this is usually the response I get from clients and students and they’re like, “Oh no, I tried to wake up at 7:00 AM one time and do work. I tried to be a morning person once or twice” or whatever it might be.

I say, “Whoa!” Okay, I'm not asking for that kind of drastic change, not like you need to get up at 7:00 AM if you usually get up at 9:00 AM, instead these are minor changes or minor shifts. So, if it usually feels like 5:00 to 7:00 PM is the most productive, what does 4:30 to 6:30 PM feel like? Is it truly 5:00 to 7:00? Is there something built into your day that's happening there? What if you make a slight shift a half hour back which would give you more time in the evening? What does that look like for you? Play with that a little bit right and track it. It goes back to her tracking principles that we've been talking about in other videos. So that's one way to tackle it. Are you sure that, that's the only time you can be productive?

And then the other tip would be to think about the time limits and boundaries that you're setting in general for tasks.

You may find that you give yourself the whole day to get something done, but does it take the whole day or does it only take an hour or two hours or five hours whatever it might be. And so, is it that the evening time is starting to get cut into because you've let the day kind of get away from you, but now you're starting to see like I need to get this task done. I'm going to make it happen. Procrastination is working to your advantage here. What is that expectation there? Can you also then make boundaries with your family?

"I know you all start to walk in the door this time, but can I keep working until 7:00 PM." For example can I work until 7:00 PM and then we will be able to spend time together as family or as friends or whatever it might be, so that they everybody's expectations are clear from the beginning about when you would be working and when you wouldn't be working, so try that too.

Is everybody in agreement that this can be time that you could work and time that you wouldn't work and are you internalizing that too of knowing that it's going to be okay if I don't work from 7:00 PM until the next morning. Can I accept that this is my work time only and this is free time and I'm going to embrace and live in the moment for those moments and enjoy it while I can?

So what do you think? Share below in the comments!