Staying home for the last year has taught us many things about what we would like our next normal to include: Less commuting, more long walks in nature (in lieu of crowded gyms), better work-life balance, time for meals with the family, the list goes on…And yet, even with balanced-lifestyle goals, Americans are working harder than ever before from home. The reason is a blurring of boundaries. How do you turn off the office when you simply need to walk to the kitchen table or couch to find it?
“Many employees feel like the workday never ends as they scramble to shift from home life to work life and back again, trying to keep it all afloat,” Gallup research reports — adding that their findings also show that fully remote workers are experiencing more burnout than on-site workers.
With remote work as a fixed part of the new digital era, it’s time we take a serious look at how to find more time in the schedule for the activities that we want to go remote/work-from-anywhere for. Whether you want more small nuggets of time throughout the day, are looking for regularly scheduled siestas, or are a pandemic-overachiever and training for something that requires a greater time commitment, here are four ways to find more time in your day:
- Work your schedule. Planning ahead can go a long way. Time block for big, recurring tasks or dedicated work time. You can even use a time management quadrant for task prioritization of important/not important, urgent/not urgent activities.
- Adjust your expectations. A “happiest people” survey by The Atlantic said that employed people who had 2.5 hours of free time each day were the happiest (the optimal amount for unemployed people was 4.75 hours), and there is a correlation between free time and life satisfaction. Look for opportunities to add time increments or larger blocks into the 2.5-hour goal and adjust as needed.
- Don’t give your valuable free time to your phone. Cancel the extras, stop scrolling, and don’t stay up late playing Wordscapes. Seriously, it benefits you more to sit in silence than unwittingly fall down a rabbit hole with an app that drains your available time. “If you grow dependent on your smartphone, it becomes a magical device that silently shouts your name at your brain at all times,” says Robinson Meyer, staff writer at The Atlantic. If you have to wean off your screen time, set in-app reminders to let you know when you’ve hit your daily time limit.
- Optimize every minute, whether you’re sitting on the couch or training for an ultra marathon. Satisfaction comes from presence at the moment. Centering awareness and full mental attention to the activity or leisure at hand enhances its qualities. “Whenever you deeply accept this moment as it is – no matter what form it takes – you are still, you are at peace,” writes The Power of Now author Eckhart Tolle.
Take back your day with these simple actionable steps, and enjoy a deeper quality of life that extends beyond a blurred home-work space and into a new future of having it all and a more present connection with time.
All opinions & expressions are solely those of the author and not those of any other individual, institution or business.