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How to Compartmentalize Work and Life Stress During Difficult Times It's important to create guidelines and establish distinctions when you need to get more done.

By John Rampton

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We are facing some troublesome challenges today. The economic effect of COVID-19 is being felt on all fronts. It could be directly affecting you, your business or your family, and the uncertainty is scary. You might be lucky to have been moved to remote work, but that presents its own difficulties.

Compartmentalizing might provide a solution to that stress. This is the process of singling out an issue and applying all your energy and attention to it. In the psychology world, compartmentalizing is considered a defense or coping mechanism, but when used correctly, it can be an effective way of solving problems. Here are a few ways compartmentalizing can help you.

1. Removing distractions.

The biggest obstacle of productivity is the constant presence of distractions. It's easy for us to divert our attention to our cell phone or social media accounts and waste precious time. When you sit down to get some work done, set your phone on Do Not Disturb. Close any unnecessary tabs on your computer that can get in the way. The more you do to focus on the task at hand, the more efficient you will be and the faster you can get it done.

Your environment plays a big part in your productivity as well. Determine how your workspace should be set up in order to avoid distractions. This might be solved by working behind closed doors. Soft instrumental music and a tidy workspace can prevent your mind from wandering, dramatically improving your focus on the important tasks at hand.

2. Scheduling your day.

A daily schedule can help bring order to your life and ensure that you're devoting plenty of time to the most important things. Plan out your day so you can focus on what needs to be done by the end of it. Having those things on your schedule makes sure that you're giving time to the most pressing tasks that day. Using a productivity app helps you visualize your day more effectively. These apps also give you statistical feedback on how you are spending your time, which can help you make adjustments for the following day.

As part of your routine, you can dedicate a time specifically for planning. Maybe take your Friday afternoon to review the upcoming week and organize it as necessary. This includes adding information and ranking your tasks by order of importance. Getting this all done at once removes the need to stress over your calendar at the end of each day.

3. Make time to clear your mind.

While getting work done is necessary, it is equally important to make sure you are making time for family and scheduling much-needed breaks.

Without supervision in your home, it's up to you not only to be productive, but to also make sure you are taking care of yourself. Scheduling a half hour to go on a walk or 15 minutes to take a coffee break helps you block off the time you need for yourself. Consider trying meditation in the morning or setting aside an afternoon to read a book. These productive yet relaxing activities can help you unwind and relieve stress.

4. Leave work at work.

Some days, it's hard not to think about work when you're at home. As an entrepreneur myself, my work is frequently on my mind. Leaving work at work, and the stress it often brings, helps me to be more present with my family. It's very important to me that they get the best version of myself. Worrying about work when I'm at home can actually do more harm than good.

Separating the professional and personal becomes especially difficult when you are working from home. Compartmentalizing projects can help you get one thing done and then focus on the next. After completing an assignment, make the conscious decision to move forward.

It's time to focus on yourself. If one of these suggestions doesn't work for you, try something else. The way you work best will be different than the way I do. While compartmentalizing may not be for everyone, trying different methods of success will eventually get you to where you want to go.

John Rampton

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Entrepreneur and Connector

John Rampton is an entrepreneur, investor and startup enthusiast. He is the founder of the calendar productivity tool Calendar.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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