Do you ever feel guilty for spending more time on one than the other, and if so, how do you combat that?

Be completely present in where you are at that moment. When you are working, eliminate as many non-work distractions as possible, e.g. social media notifications, etc. Focus entirely on progressing/completing the task at hand. By doing that, when you are not working, you can completely forget about it without any guilty feelings. You have given the best you can, so now, focus wholly on being good company for the people around you.

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There will always be times when one takes a disproportionate amount of time, e.g. a project needing a final push to get it over the finishing line, or a family emergency. So long as it’s only a short term thing. When either starts to become a regular pattern or simply becomes too much in the short term, actively reduce the amount of time that thing takes up. For your mental health, you need to spend a reasonable amount of time on other things.

Sometimes I have work-related “Eureka!” moments away from work. We all do. Typically, it’s in the shower – always in the shower – which makes following this advice immediately a little harder:

Get it out of your head as soon as possible; write down just enough detail to allow you to pick it back up easily when next at work. Then get back to whatever you were doing before.

Do what you can to make the time you spend at work enjoyable. Spend time in developing quality friendships so that you have a support network to rely on should things get tough. Some example activities are:

  • Eat lunch with both people in your team or department, but also outside.
  • Bring in cake, doughnuts, a tin of biscuits/sweets – anything to share.
  • Arrange a regular sporting activity after work like a game of football.

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Social distancing and work-from-home guidance makes the above all but impossible. Instead, how about making the time just to call someone up to say hello, and ask how they are. Perhaps you are able to help them in some manner. Imagine how you might welcome being on the receiving end of such a call.

The end goal here is to make work much less of a daily grind and raise it up as something to look forward to.


This article was written by Alex Fleming, from Covéa Insurance.

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