Right up front, let me warn you that I am no life coach or guru on How to Be Totally Organized Like A Boss. I struggle with balance in my life. However, I’ve found some strategies that really help me to not let the library completely overrun my life and vice versa.
Let’s start with work issues crowding in on your me-time, family-time, or whatever sort of hyphenated time you’ve got.
Find a hobby that has absolutely nothing to do with work. This one is hard, since as librarians, we probably read for pleasure. Disassociating work from the act of reading can be difficult, so try finding something completely non-book related. For me, it’s weightlifting. It doesn’t have to be physical, but exercise definitely helps with pep and your mood. You could also try knitting, gaming, cosplay, cooking, sketching, music–anything out there that will take your mind off of work. Repetitive tasks are good, as are those that require a good deal of focus.
Designate home as a work-free zone. If that’s totally impossible with your job–you’re a supervisor, for instance–at least don’t go looking for work things to do. If you must check your email at home, prioritize. If someone’s calling in sick and you need to flip the schedule, ok. But responding to a system-all email about pie in the break room can wait until tomorrow. Our work is important, but luckily, we are not brain surgeons. It is highly unlikely that someone is going to die if you don’t open that email RIGHT NOW. Really. It’s okay.
So you’ve got work under control. What about life stuff? You know, all those pesky adulting things?
See your phone? Okay. Put it in your bag or in a drawer and do not mess with it at work unless you’re on break or lunch. I try really hard not to answer my personal phone at work at all.
If life is stressing you out, find out what really occupies your brain at work. For me, ordering books takes a lot of my concentration. I also love creating displays. So if I find myself worrying about life issues while at work, I’ll get up and walk around, checking displays or brainstorming new ideas. Or I might check out the buzz on upcoming books and then add them to my ordering spreadsheet. Once I get in the ordering or display-making zone, my mind moves away from problems and focuses on the task at hand
Have multiple commitments outside of work, like a committee? Make sure that you schedule time to care for those commitments. Treat it as you would a work project.
I am not sitting here in a state of blissed-out zen, with my life-work balance all feng shui-ed up. But I try to keep things in balance. If work follows you home, that’s okay. Just nudge it back to a place where you are comfortable.