“Home” is a broad term. Despite this, the term can be grounding, bringing a sense of boundaries when sifting through the enmeshment of work and personal commitments. How can one just transition from work life to home life? Where does work end and home life begin?
In the media and on television, the boundary is often depicted by “clocking out” or returning home from the office. The definition of work here becomes slim, implying that once you leave the office, work is out of sight, but rarely is it out of mind. This is often an unrealistic depiction of how work and home life are separated in society. In my childhood, movies depicted the common 9-5 work as commonplace. In contrast, “the night shift,” or at-home work, was much less regular.
Now that technology created a network of jobs that can take place virtually, work-life looks much different than it used to. With work shifting into living rooms and home offices, work and home life have seemingly intertwined. The lines for separating the two have become blurred. This leaves us with potential burnout, as well as the struggle to compartmentalize.
Make Space for Yourself
Make space for what you find to feel like “home”. Here, I am referring to the meaning we attach to the word. Whatever it is that brings you a feeling of peace and stability, make time for that. For example, set a timer. Even if you only have 30 minutes, dedicate this set time to yourself. Is it taking a deep breath and practicing mindfulness? Is it calling a friend? Drawing? Journaling? Is it running, singing, dancing, or cleaning? Whatever grounds you, make time for it as if it is a breath of relief you can come “home” to.
I feel as if to balance the home and work life battle, you need to give yourself the permission to carve a sense of peace into your schedule. While you work, work with the intention to meet deadlines and commitments. Once that time is over, use your depleted energy to search for what brings you peace. It is easy to search for something numbing or mindless. But, resorting to social media or constant media viewing can become a bad habit. The more time you spend in a technology-fueled auto-pilot, the more time you lose.
Think of something calming and beneficial to fill your time. Even thinking about what you would want to do to relax, can shift gears from work to our personal sense of home. Home is our peace, our break, our free time. It’s our dedication to keeping ourselves healthy.
Compartmentalizing Your Life
Many creators work in freelance or from their homes. So, distinguishing which ideas are for work and or solely for yourself can become an enmeshed thought process. Where do you draw the line between thinking creatively for work and for yourself?
Compartmentalizing is an extremely useful tactic. It involves applying strict focus to something specific for a brief period of time so that when you switch to another task, your energy is not scattered. This makes it easier to move forward to the next activity since it requires efficiency and time management. Although, this does require small steps forward., since focus can remain heavy on the previous task.
This looks different for everyone as they shift from one topic to another. This may be easier for some more than others, and may not fit for everyone. After all, balancing work and home life looks different for everyone. However, compartmentalizing involves moving from one thing to the next by clearly distinguishing commitments, and it can help make efficiency a priority. By removing distractions and the non-essentials, focusing on work for an allotted amount of time can move you closer to winding down.
Winding down from work is essential. But, a balance between work and a personal, intentional life outside of work creates a clearer vision of the needs you may have been neglecting. This is where your personal sense of peace and “home” can be nurtured and prioritized.
Most importantly, when you are winding down and focusing on what brings you peace, compartmentalize (if it works for you), and bring your attention fully to that present moment.