How to Stop Working All the Time and Get More Done
How to Stop Working All the Time and Get More Done
I have a problem and it’s hard for me to admit. My name is Deanna and I am a workaholic. There. I’ve said it. And I know I need to stop working all the time.
Can you relate? Do you find yourself addicted to your phone or computer? Do you regularly bring work home or feel compelled to finish “just one more thing”? Then read on my friend for there is hope.
This workaholic behavior was rewarded in my corporate career, but since my office has moved to the dining table, working all the time began to take a toll on my relationships, energy, and productivity. I am trying to turn it off, but it is hard. Especially, when I am launching this blog and getting a new business off the ground. There is so much work to do and I want to make progress as quickly as possible.
However, being a workaholic is not something I want my daughter to remember me for and so I have started working on solutions so that I can turn work off. Taking baby steps is helping. Here is what I am doing to try to stop working all the time.
ARE LIMITING BELIEFS MAKING YOU WORK TOO HARD?
One of the most surprising parts of realizing I’m a workaholic is that I have been coming up against some pretty big limiting beliefs. A limiting belief is something you believe to be true that holds you back in some way. They are often not true, but so ingrained in our thinking that we never consider them to be otherwise.
Some of the limiting beliefs I have discovered for myself over the past few months are:
- Success means working hard
- Making money is hard work
- I have to be busy to be productive and produce meaning
I know deep down that these beliefs are not always true. Lots of people are able to make money doing things they love. This in turn does not feel like hard work to them so making money does not have to equal hard work. Just writing that helps bring down some barriers. I need to be consistent and persistent, but not complicate things by thinking that it’s going to be hard. Maybe reaching “success” will be fun and that is the opposite of hard work.
Then there’s busy versus productive. The most successful people in the world, while they do a lot, are not bogged down by the tiny details and busy work of most tasks. No. They think big and have people help them with the details.
And while I am not in a position to hire a team (yet!), I have put it in my head that it is okay to not get every tiny thing done and it is more important to work on tasks that will make me successful instead of busy. I am also committed to hiring help when I need it this year with tasks that I am just okay at, like bookkeeping and taxes. These small investments in my time will come back to me ten-fold as I can use my brain-power for things that excite me instead of intimidate me.
NEW RULES FOR PRODUCTIVITY
Now that I have a better handle on my thoughts and the underlying tendencies of why I am a workaholic, I am implementing some rules and boundaries on my time. This is to help me separate work time, family time, and give myself some personal time. The research shows that multi-tasking is a big lie and none of us are good at it. By separating my time and tasks, I will be more present, get more done, and enjoy my interactions more.
These are the new rules:
- Turn off work between the hours of 3:30 pm – 8:00 pm everyday
This is the time I pick my daughter up from school, play with her, get dinner ready, do bath time, read stories, and get her ready for bed. If I am honest with myself, I often used to check my phone, read a blog post, respond to social media or some other work related task during making dinner or between tasks. I have committed to stop looking at my electronics and will be dedicated to family time from when I pick her up from school to when I put her to bed.
- Stop working and hang out with my husband by at least 9:00 pm every night
If there is something urgent I need to wrap up at the end of the day, I now give myself one hour to complete it. All work tasks are either finished by 9:00 pm or they have to wait until the next morning. This gives my husband and I time to relax together, watch something on TV, chat about our days, or whatever else we feel like doing. For as long as I can remember, we have been working “all the time” as we used to have a business together too. Now, our time is more about us as people, instead of what we do.
- No phones at meals or when playing with my daughter
I don’t really struggle with the phone at mealtimes, but I am ashamed to say that I struggle with it during playtimes. This is one I am really working on. The solution to this is to dock my phone right when we get home. It stays in the entry way so that I am not tempted to check messages, social media, emails, whatever when I think my daughter is looking the other way. She knows. And I never want her to think my phone is more important than she is.
- Working out 3 days a week at the gym and taking a long walk 2 days a week
In order to give myself the energy I need to keep my brain focused, I have committed to working out 3 days a week at the gym. Surprisingly, this is not the difficult task of this to-do item. I simply hop on a different bus after dropping my daughter off at kindergarten and end up at the gym. The long walk 2 days a week is a struggle because I am trying to work these into the middle of my day when my productivity is lagging. However, pulling away from the computer is tough so I am continuing to work on it.
- Have coffee with a friend once per week.
All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy, right? This is the idea behind adding a coffee date with a friend to my schedule each week. Meeting up with friends helps me connect with others and is so beneficial. It gets me out of my mind and present with others. I learn about what my friends are struggling with and they can help me work through my issues too. This can also work as playdates with other families in my daughters kindergarten class.
- Unplug at least one day per week.
This one is a tough one for me, but necessary. Unplugging for one day a week, helps me realize that the world will not fall apart if I am not on my computer. It makes sure we get outside and play, reconnect as a family, and enjoy real life. Plus, having a real life, gives me more interesting things to talk about online too.
TIME MANAGEMENT TIPS FOR WORKING FROM HOME
Having these new rules in place is great, but it does not magically take away the work I need to do on a consistent and regular basis. Since I am committed to no longer multitasking, the following productivity tips will help me get more done in the time allotted.
1. Time Blocking
Time blocking is the process of working in short time periods. Essentially, you are sprinting to get work done and then taking a break. By focusing time and racing the clock, I am amazed at how much more I am able to get done. I generally block my time as follows:
- Work period 1: two hours before everyone wakes up.
- Break: get ready and take my daughter to school
- Work period 2: one hour at the coffee shop.
- Break: work out class at the gym
- Work period 3: one hour at home.
- Break: make for lunch for Brett and I
- Work period 4: two hours after lunch.
- Break: pick my daughter up from school
- Work period 5: one hour (if urgent task remains)
- Break: relax with husband and go to bed
- Work period 1: two hours before everyone wakes up.
2. Batching my tasks
The second productivity tip I am working on is batching. This one is a bit newer for me so it’s still a work in progress. For instance, within my time blocks I try to do similar tasks together. I will outline several blog posts at one time, write the posts another time, edit them yet another block, and create graphics within another block of time. By not having to switch between tasks, I am getting faster at each step along the way.
3. Write down my success list
In order to hit the ground running in the morning, I create a success list at the end of the day. A success list is like a to-do list, but it only contains 3 things that will help move me toward my goals. I try to do this before I stop working at 3:30 pm so that I’m not going over it right before bed. I have been surprised at how much more focused I am in the morning by doing this the previous day. When I used to make a to do list in the morning, it would take longer and I was more easily distracted. Now I know exactly what to work on when I sit down at my computer in the morning and I know it will make a bigger impact on my business.
4. Write down my BIG goal every morning
One task I do still complete every morning though is writing down my big goal. This keeps me laser-focused on what I am trying to accomplish this year. It also helps cut down on busy work as I am able to ask myself if what I am doing that day will move me forward or if it is just filling time.
5. Go to bed by 10:00 pm every night
The last productivity tip I am implementing is a stricter bedtime. I know that I need to get enough sleep every night in order to have the energy to attack my success list the next day. That means, going to bed at an appropriate time. Making sure to turn off my work by 9:00 pm every night helps, but this is one I definitely struggle with.
With these new rules for productivity and time management tips, I am slowly chipping away at my workaholic status. I no longer wear it as a badge of honor. Instead I want to live a productive life filled with fun, joy, and positive energy. I refuse to be busy for the sake of being busy.
It’s helpful to remember that tasks will take up as much time as you give them, just like items in your home take up any available closet space. By limiting my working time, batching tasks, working off a success list, keeping my big goals top of mind, and getting enough sleep every night, I am able to get more work done than ever before. But, work is not the most important thing in life and spending time with my family and friends reminds me of what is truly important.
If you can relate and are looking for a way to start planning big goals, plus how to achieve them, I invite you to download my free Goal Achieving Workbook. With over 20 pages of helpful tips, worksheets, and advice to keep you on task it will help you make this your best year ever! And did I mention it’s free?
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