Keeping the boundaries actually works

I always prided myself on being able to balance home and work without being rigid.  I’d congratulate myself for getting the laundry done or the dinner made between work tasks.

Then it all got too much.  Work was bleeding into the evenings and I wasn’t getting going on paid jobs until mid-morning because I was finishing up home admin or emptying the dishwasher.  I told myself home always came first – but somehow, everything was becoming a blurry, unsatisfying mess.

So, on the advice of a wise friend, I tried boundaries.  Working – and only working – between fixed hours.  Doing home-related tasks – and only home tasks – in set times too.  I know, you’ve heard this suggestion before.  It’s hardly rocket science.  Call me slow, but I finally realised that this time-honoured advice actually works.  I was flying, clear-headed and amazingly productive.

For a whole week.

Then the boy was home from school for a few days and I went back to an endless mixed-up mash of emails sandwiched between story-reading and working in front of kids’ TV to keep him company and lessen the Mummy-guilt.  And I knew that, for that week, that’s the way circumstances meant it had to be.

But I also knew that, once we were back to normal again, the boundaries were definitely coming back into force again.  They help me to think clearly.  They comfort me by saying, “this task you are doing now is exactly what you should be doing at this moment.  This is home time. (Or work time.)”

I can recommend it.  Boundary your time.  Don’t do laundry at work or check email at home.  It seems so simplistic and obvious – perhaps too simplistic and obvious to work – but it works wonders.


4 thoughts on “Keeping the boundaries actually works

  1. So you really find this works? Because I am so struggling in this area. I even got to the point of applying for a grossly underpaid job, because it seemed better than wafting around the house getting NOTHING done all day as a “consultant”. My get up and go has got up and went and I don’t know where to find it!

  2. Good to hear from you – you’ve been quiet! I’m certainly finding it works for me when i have plenty of work to do. I might struggle in the times when I don’t have set work to do and have to go out and find some. But what it really helped with was the muddle of trying to do everything at once and feeling I wasn’t achieving anything. At least with this system, if I’m wafting around doing nothing, I know I’m doing it in allocated ‘wafting around’ time! Lessens the guilt a bit…

    • Argh – nearly missed your response again! Seems that unless you respond as a “reply”, WP doesn’t tell me you’ve said anything and then I don’t see it unless it occurs to me to check in. Yeah, I’ve been a bit stuck generally, not able to write – or do anything much. But change is afoot, I’m in the process of making some significant decisions about Where To Next … and this advice comes at an opportune time. Thank you!

  3. Pingback: Boundaries and butterflies | Live and work at home

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