Compartmentalizing has long been the key to achieving a good balance between work and the rest of your life, but it’s not so easy to mentally shut out your job and leave work behind at the end of your day when you’re working from home.

Ineffective mental boundaries between work and home can leave you feeling anxious or overwhelmed and keep you from being your productive best, but there are ways to keep things under control. Here are some tips you can use to make compartmentalization at home a little bit easier:

Forget About Multitasking

One of the most destructive myths to trouble modern humans is the idea of “multitasking.” It simply doesn’t work. When you try to “do it all,” you will find your mind endlessly switching between subjects, with none of them getting the attention they really deserve.

Make it easier to stay focused on one thing at a time by putting your phone on airplane mode when you’re at work, closing all the unnecessary browser tabs on your laptop, and ignoring emails until it’s time to deal with them at the end of the day.

Target and Track Your Time 

Compartmentalizing is all about getting into the right mindset and setting definitive goals. Make a list of all the things you need or want to do throughout the week and allocate a certain amount of time to each activity — whatever you think is necessary or reasonable.

When it’s time to start on a non-work activity, set a timer, and allow yourself to focus only on your goal for the moment without any guilt. This is “your time” to play with the kids, work out, indulge in a book, or whatever you’ve decided to give your attention until that timer goes off.

Separate Your Work Space From Everything Else

Whether you work best in a chair at a desk or in the comfort of your couch, designate a specific area for work and commit to only doing work while you’re there — and nowhere else. Watch television, listen to a podcast, and scroll through your social media somewhere else, even if that just means moving to a chair across the room. 

Ideally, try to carve out a whole room — or at least the corner of one — where you can shut out the distractions of home life while you’re concentrating on business. It’s also where you can leave work behind when your workday is done.

If you’re struggling to compartmentalize while working at home, keep trying. Eventually, you’ll figure out the tricks that work best for you.

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