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August 7, 2021

Separating Church & State: How to Balance our Professional & Personal Life for a Sustainable Relationship.

 

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Working from home is the new normal, and separating professional and personal life can become quite challenging.

Granted that you save some time as there is no commute to your office and back, but the lines between work life and personal life became blurry too fast and too soon while you’re working from home.

The truth is working from home is not for everyone. While some might love that they get to spend more time at home and stay in the comfort of it, others might have enjoyed going to the office because it was a great way to break the monotony of each day. It’s essential to find a way to balance both in order not to burn yourself out.

I learned that balance is an integral part of life after spending a few months working from home and having absolutely no time to share with my partner, especially since my partner’s job and mine are so different that we could not even share our work.

It was a stressful time because it put a lot of pressure on our relationship. However, as a few months went by, I learned how to ride the tide at work without letting it get the best of my partner and me.

Here are a few ways that helped us separate between church and state:

1. Define the start and end of your workday. 

It’s easy to get carried away with work and lose sight of your personal life, especially when you’re working from home. Therefore, the best way to avoid getting too involved in work is to clearly define your working hours.

Say, for example, you’re required to clock in nine hours of work every day. Begin your work at nine a.m. and ensure that your workday ends at six p.m. You might find it challenging to finish the required work within that time frame on some days, therefore, set aside an additional hour to wrap up any pending work that you might have. Make this clear to your employer and your teammates by setting the right expectations so they know when you’re available for calls, meetings, and other work-related commitments.

After you’re done with your work, don’t check work emails, respond to messages, or take work calls. By clearly adhering to these times, you and your partner can enjoy the rest of the evening together without being interrupted by your professional lives.

2. Take the chance to learn something new. 

If you and your partner have different careers, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sure, you cannot work together and spend time with each other when carrying out work-related activities, but you get to learn something new.

I work in advertising while my partner is a lawyer. They are two different worlds that probably don’t come together often. But we spent some time learning about each other’s jobs, and it brought us closer together. It gave us more understanding of each other’s passions and interests which only made our relationship stronger. So, go ahead, open up a bottle of wine and start learning about each other’s career paths.

3. Lend each other a helping hand. 

It’s easier to lend a helping hand to your partner who works in a different field altogether. Being someone who works in an advertising firm, I cannot imagine spending additional hours working on a project in advertising. The same goes for my partner. Being a lawyer is hard enough. If I was a lawyer too, it could be exhausting to help my partner out with work when the load is too much.

But different careers give you the space to help out when your partner needs it. I can discuss product launch ideas with my partner and get creative pitches when I’m feeling stuck. So, you see, there is a definite advantage to having completely unrelated career paths.

4. Practice good notifications hygiene.

With smartphones and other electronic devices becoming a significant part of our lives, we spend a lot of time looking at our phones and attending to notifications. By being so involved with our phones, it’s only natural that we stop being present and enjoy life in reality.

Keep your virtual world away by switching off your notifications after working hours. You can give your colleagues a medium for emergency contact of your choice, but switch off the rest of the communication after working hours. Practice good notifications hygiene to stay away from work-related activities when it’s after your working hours.

5. Offer each other relatable advice. 

My partner, a lawyer, came to me for professional advice because the law firm needed some advertising expertise. I felt great that I could help out. I could also approach him for legal advice in case I needed any for my job. Besides, it allowed my partner and I to spend time with each other in a professional setting, even though we were from different career paths.

So, if you do not relate to your significant other’s career, trust me, there will come a time when your professional expertise will be valuable to them. After all, everything in the world is interconnected.

6. Trust yourself to be reliable when it’s needed. 

Do you think that it’s helping you to be answering your work emails at 10 p.m? Is that going to warrant you that promotion you’ve been waiting for?

The accurate measure of an efficient employee is their ability to work smartly and effectively in the stipulated time assigned for work. By working outside your office hours, it doesn’t help increase your productivity or efficiency.

Know that you will be available to work outside the regular working hours when it’s an emergency, but during other times, keep in mind that your professional life and personal life need to be separated.

While working from home can be challenging, it’s not unusual to find ways to strike that balance between work and family.

You just have to find your way like I found mine.

 

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