Q: I’m finding it very difficult to separate work from home at the moment (as are most people). With homeschooling my workday is much longer, and I find it difficult to switch off for sleep. In addition to putting my phone away earlier, what Microsteps can help?
A: The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated the boundaries that once brought structure and variety to our days. For many of us, the result is a kind of boundaryless permawork, resulting in real burnout and taking a toll on our physical and mental health. And adding homeschooling to the mix only intensifies the effect.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to set our own boundaries. When we do, we create opportunities to recharge and reset ourselves; neuroscience shows that we can course-correct from stress in just 60 or 90 seconds.
Setting boundaries with your phone is a great place to start. But you can also start earlier in the day, and here’s one of my favorite Microsteps that can help: Declare an end to the day, even if you haven’t completed your to-do list. Whatever your role, it’s almost impossible to do all you could have done in any one day.
Effectively prioritizing means being comfortable with incompletions and taking the time to recharge. Instead of just hoping to “switch off” for sleep, you’ll ease the transition and give yourself the space to create a pre-bedtime ritual that sets you up for the sleep you need.