A Beginner’s Guide To Setting Work Boundaries: WFH Version
First, define your workspace and home space. This is easy when you have an office with a door, but if you do not, mark the area physically, using whatever means you have available. For example, when I lived in a basement studio apartment, I had my desk and bed directly next to each other, cubicle style, so I could not see one while using the other.
Second, set up starting and stopping rituals. It may sound a little woo woo, but there is science behind it. When you start work, do the same thing every time. Get your cup of coffee or tea, set it on your coaster, and open your computer. That simple series of actions is enough to prime your brain for work.
Similarly, when you have finished for the day, at a pre-determined time, close all unnecessary programs, close your email, and turn off your screen for at least 30 minutes. It’s a bookend, a series of actions to signal to the brain that the workday is over. I usually journal a little about my day: what I accomplished, missed, and need to do tomorrow. It’s not necessary, but it helps with the following guideline a lot.
Third, deal with your brain’s flow pendulum. If you are consistently engaged in work, meaning no distractions, you are more than likely working in a high flow state. However, when the workday is over, the pendulum swings the other way. Whatever you accomplished suddenly isn’t enough. The to-do list for tomorrow is already five items deep. Your brain gets kicked into this state of uncertainty after being focused on tasks for so long.
These feelings may feel genuine to you, but give yourself 30 minutes to let your brain start swinging back. This is why I journal, make a snack, or clean an area of my house (not the office). Then, when you finally do swing back, all this mindless prep work is done, and you can fully enjoy a little relaxation time.
Disclaimer: There are two Amazon affiliate links in this post. They are two books: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg and The Art of Impossible by Steven Kotler. I highly recommend both of these for any kind of lifestyle and mindset change as they both peack behind the curtain at the how and why your brain does what it does.