Work Following You Home? Discover 4 Ways to Throw it Off Track!

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worklifebalWhen Leslie took the promotion to become team leader, she knew a heap of extra responsibility would soon square itself on her shoulders. But the new gig, she rationalized, would bring better visibility, and would, she hoped, put her on the fast track to management.

On a personal level, she had reservations about the timing of the upward move: Her oldest son had just made the high-school varsity football team, and her youngest had been recently diagnosed with a moderate form of autism.
Teetering between her heavy load at work and the dramas unreeling in her domestic life would be tough. She would somehow have to keep the office from weeding its way into the family’s living room.
Leslie’s dilemma isn’t unique. Many of us have difficulty leaving work behind. We may not all have children with special needs, but we do have lives outside of the office that nonetheless require tending.
So, the question remains, how do we hang on to the sanctity of our time? The four steps below will help you set some solid boundaries between your work … and your life.
  1. If you have to check in, set boundaries. Give yourself a schedule — and stick to it. Pull the Blackberry out once in the evening, then put it to bed for the night. Discipline is important.
  1. Take your vacation, and your lunch hour. The feeling that we have to take work home often comes from higher ups. If you have people that report to you, make sure you show them, through your own actions, that it’s okay to take a vacation and leave for lunch. Getting away from the office may take getting used to, especially if you are usually tied, as if by umbilical cord, to your desk. By creating formal distance, it will go a long way toward helping you learn to separate your work and personal life.
  1. Get organized. It’s often hard to leave when you can’t tell where one project ends and the other begins. Give yourself a hand: Get your desk and office in shape. It’s easier to find a stopping place for the day when you have a clear plan in place.
  1. Draw a line in the sand. Regardless of the work you have left on your desk when 5:00 rolls around, remember your priorities. There are times when work will have to wait until 8:00 the next morning. Surprisingly, 9 times out of 10, the work is still waiting for you when you get there.

Every job is different, with different demands and varying levels of responsibility. Whatever your job, these four steps are a great way to keep work from encroaching on your personal life. So get started now! Set those boundaries and live your life.

Agree? Disagree? Add your insightful comments here.