The Importance of Quality Time at Home
If you’re new here, first of all, I’m so incredibly happy to have you. I want you to know that this blog is all about creating and maintaining a happy, fulfilled lifestyle. That means making sure we are healthy, happy, and motivated. It also means that we’re taking care of our selves as well as our relationships with others.
One of the things that’s most important to your sense of peace and contentment is valuing and protecting your quality time at home.
Quality time, for me, looks like time spent with loved ones without the hustle and bustle of jobs, stress, and any other distracting factors. Sometimes, it also looks like time by myself refocusing and re-energizing to be my best self.
Here are my best tips for how to make the most out of your quality time at home.
Leave work at work.
Sometimes leaving work behind is a lot easier said than done. But trust me, it’s a MUST. When I first started teaching, the demands of the job completely overwhelmed me. There were lessons to plan and create, tests to perfect, assignments to write, and papers to grade. Not to mention all of the things I actually tried to get done during the work day.
To say that I came home stressed out is a complete understatement.
I would bring home piles of work, but I still felt like I wasn’t getting anything accomplished. That’s because I wasn’t. The only thing I was actually doing was causing myself major headaches. I was ill at home and frustrated because I was overworked. There was no chance to look forward to coming home at the end of the day because the work never ended.
Finally, I had enough and learned an important lesson that keeps me sane on the regular. Leave work at work. Seriously, do not bring it home with you unless you absolutely have to. There will always be one more report to finish, a few more emails to answer, etc. I promise, they can wait.
Having time away from your work is what preserves your happy home life. You don’t want your house to become a place of stress and high demand like your work. Give your brain a break, friend.
Eliminate distractions while you’re working on a task.
So, I’m the queen of this. It is straight up impossible to get things done during the time you have for them if you’re constantly distracted. Unfortunately, some of our most favorite things are, in fact, distractions. You know, cell phones, social media, Netflix. All the fun stuff.
Sometimes I’m really good at lining up my tasks for the day and getting motivated to get them done. But then, after a few minutes of productivity, I think I deserve a break. That break turns into twenty wasted minutes scrolling through one of the Real Housewives’ Twitter feed. Talk about a rabbit hole.
Doing these things sabotages the time you have to accomplish your goals for the day. Not getting those goals accomplished eats into your quality time at home.
Give yourself a strict no social media policy at work. Don’t give yourself any breaks to scroll through and browse. You may have a job where this is not even an option, and that’s great. However, there are numerous distractions no matter what job you have; just try not to fall into them.
There are definitely tasks to do at home as well. One thing you can do when you’re busy at home is turn off the tv when you’re working. You want to get your tasks done as efficiently as possible so you can enjoy quality time. Whether you’re washing the dishes, paying bills, or catching up on your blog, eliminate the distraction from the tv.
It’s hard to resist the millionth episode of Friends playing in the background when I’m doing something not fun. It’s too tempting to lose track of time, and losing track of time leaves more work for you to do during your quality time.
Work on your goals a little at a time.
Whatever goal you’re trying to accomplish, focus on it a little at a time. When something’s really important to you, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and drive to reach that goal.
As you’re working towards your goal, try to be mindful of how much time you’re spending, and spend that time in segments.
Are you working for three nonstop hours during your free time? Wouldn’t it be better for your home life to work for just one hour? Once that hour is up, you get to relax and unwind. Doing this allows you not to burn out while you’re chasing the dream.
By no means am I suggesting that you let your goals take the back burner. No way. What I am saying is work at a manageable pace. The view from the top won’t be nearly as sweet if you’re too tired to look around.
Use a planner and set aside times for tasks.
I swear if I didn’t have a planner, half of my day wouldn’t get accomplished. Giving yourself time to take a break at home and de-stress can only happen when you don’t feel like there’s still 18236182 tasks left to do for the day.
Grab yourself a planner that you really like and write down your to-do list for the day. Try to be as detailed as possible in your planning. I’m talking write down every little thing you need to do and exactly how much time you need to spend on it.
I really do have a love for planners. Some that I really like are the Erin Condren LifePlanner, the Emily Ley Simplified Planner, and my current planner from Plum Paper. Grab yourself a planner that breaks down the day into hours, so you can really take charge of your time.
My favorite layout is probably the Emily Ley Simplified Planner because it has a split page layout with hour breakdowns and a to do list check off. However, you can customize the Plum Paper planner and the LifePlanner to similar layouts.
If you can segment off time for your goals and tasks, you’re prepared to actually get them done. A visual representation of your to-dos can be really motivating. You have a plan, and you can see the finish line ahead..
Stick to your plans.
Is this too obvious to talk about? Maybe, it is for you, but not for me. I’m kind of a pro at making my planner look awesome with color coded task lists, and then skipping ten of them. Fail.
I probably skipped those to-dos because I got distracted or I procrastinated. Both total killers. Not to mention the fact that now I feel badly because I didn’t get everything done that I wanted to. That guilt stresses me out even more.
Once you make your plan for the day, challenge yourself to stick to it the best you can. Sometimes, of course, things come up. However, most days you can do the things you set out to do.
Keep your list visible at all times, and monitor how much time you’re spending on each task. I bet if you do this, you’ll actually find extra time left to catch up on some things you left behind at work the day before. Now you’re all caught up and maybe even a little ahead. Win!
Set aside a time to end the day.
We talked above about planning out your day in detail. But, we didn’t talk about the one thing you probably have never thought of planning. The most important thing you need to plan is when you’re going to end your day. Set aside a time, any time that works for you, and stop. At some point the day just has to stop. You will burn yourself out otherwise.
Many times I’ve come home from work, continued to clean the house, make supper, and then work on my personal goals until time for bed. Every time I do this I feel as though I’m not really living. I feel like the hamster on the wheel, and I’m exhausted.
Pick a time, and stick to it. If you pick seven p.m., once the clock hits seven step away from the work. No more cleaning, no more grading, no more emailing. This is your time. Now you can zone out on YouTube, play with your kids, hang out on the couch with your husband or boyfriend, whatever you want to do just for fun.
When you can end your day, you can focus on having that quality time at home that you desperately need. I promise, quality time at home is the best thing for your stress level and overall happiness. You can’t de-stress if you never stop. Take a break; it’ll still be waiting for you tomorrow.