Life can be downright exhausting at times. On top of everyday life stressors, there are now so many unknowns surrounding the COVID-19 global pandemic. There are things to prepare. We must look ahead and plan; try to harness some level of control over the current situation, but oftentimes it can feel incredibly overwhelming. We attempt to balance both work and life outside of work as if they are two separate branches of life that are caught in a perpetual battle for our time and attention. My question to you is...why separate the two?
One thing we as human beings tend to neglect is our ability to manage the day to day cadence that is life. We spend one-third of our lives focused on work and the other third sleeping. Why don’t we treat our lives like work? Before you write me a concerned email about work/life separation, understand that BizStream does a great job of respecting our family time. Here’s what I’m getting at:
As a Project Manager at BizStream, I tend to obsess over project budgets, deadlines, scope creep, and all of those other trendy PM/agile terms that get thrown around the office. Thirty-three percent of my life is focused primarily on work and all that it entails. That’s a lot of time devoted to making myself a more effective and efficient employee. Over the years and in my various experiences, I have picked up a few key tools that have helped me do a somewhat decent job keeping it all straight. See, you spend a lot of time at work perfecting tools and processes to help you make it through the day.
Utilize Tools to Manage Life Tasks
You should always have a healthy disconnect between work and life, but that doesn’t mean you can’t utilize those same perfected tools and abilities that make you a kick-ass employee outside of the office as well.
I’m a firm believer that tools give us freedom. I’m a budget nut at heart, and for me, freedom in knowing what I can and cannot spend is everything. I also get a lot of little things thrown at me daily at the office, so I’m a big advocate of To-Do Lists. One of the tools I like to use for both home and work is Microsoft To-Do
. It’s an easy-to-use checklist that keeps my day to day activities and assignments in check. While we do use more complex tools like Jira
when dealing with project-specific goals and objectives, I use this tool to help remind me of all the little things that tend to get lost in the fray. It’s incredibly simple to categorize different “projects” if you will, and it even has a complimentary mobile app, which is a huge bonus for me.
Below is an example of my “To Do” setup. As you can see, the items on the left represent the projects or categories. I not only use To-Do for mundane day-to-day tasks but also for setting fun goals and objectives. I have a “Want NOT need” list, which basically consists of anything that I want, but don’t necessarily need. If I see a new piece of tech, I throw it on there. SpaceX tickets for a lunar shuttle service? You betcha it’s on there. I even have a “Dreamhouse list,” which has grown exponentially in recent years…every time I see something in a house that I like, I add it to my list.
To-Do even has a really basic sub-task feature, which I use for a lot of things. In the below example, my primary To-Do for BizStream is to tell Mike he looks handsome. I have added sub-tasks and even due dates on how I can go about checking that one off the list.
Keep it Simple
Managing my life similarly to the way I manage my time at work has worked well for me. If something comes up in my home life, I simply pull out my phone and add it to my list. When I’ve completed a task, I check it off my list and hear that wonderful “Ding” as I complete one more task.
Whatever tool you end up using, I recommend you keep it as simple as possible. We live in a world where applications are in our faces daily and we don’t want life to feel too much like work if we can help it. At the end of the day, use a tool that gives you a sense of accomplishment. Remember to give yourself Kudos for knocking out even one item on your list. During this especially challenging time, you owe yourself an extra pat on the back.