Compartmentalizing can help us gage the importance and urgency of various tasks, letting us feel less stressed and more focused.

Compartmentalize Your Life: Easy Tips To Get Started

Have you ever come home from work and tried to get dinner started or talk with your kids or partner just to realize that you are STILL thinking about work or answering emails or phone calls? Things can get a little stressful and confusing when we try to mix different categories of our lives together. Today, I want to share with you the importance of compartmentalizing your life and my favorite and personal tips to get organized!

 

 

The Three Main Categories in Life

 

In order to compartmentalize, we have to first understand what that really means. It means to separate your life into categories in order to help you be more productive. The more productive you are, the more you can focus on your priorities and be able to differentiate between which tasks are important, urgent or both.

Most people have three main categories in their lives: work, home and personal. And it’s important to note that each are very different. Home is not that same as personal. So let’s dive right into what each mean to us:

  1. Work: Income producing tasks. Prospective jobs or promotions, networking, being an entrepreneur, working for a business, or even volunteering, etc.
  2. Home: cleaning & maintenance of your home, pets, chores, tasks, etc.
  3. Personal: Your relationships. Whether it’s with your husband, wife, partner, roommate, children, etc. It can also be hobbies, health and personal growth/goals.

 

“When you open and close these compartments, it’s like a door opening and closing – and that’s not a revolving door. That’s because we want to keep these areas separate.”

Beat the Feeling of Overwhelm

 

You’ve probably heard me day this before in a podcast or post…but balance is bogus. It’s all about harmony. Sometimes we need to spend a little more time in one category than another.

Compartmentalizing allows us to focus on each one of these areas with its own time, meaning each area is also treated as a priority during its time. When you open and close these compartments, it’s like a door opening and closing – and that’s not a revolving door. That’s because we want to keep these areas separate.

It’s sometimes difficult to shut off work and focus on home because we have so many things or people depending on us. But the main opponent to compartmentalizing is overwhelm. When you feel overwhelmed in any of your categories, you’ll feel it when you try to focus on another.

The best way to combat the feeling of overwhelm is by writing down the steps you need to take and then plan or refocus the compartment you are trying to work on in the first place. Overwhelm is not simply having too much to do, it’s not knowing where to start. We want to eliminate this feeling as much as possible.

If you ever feel like you’re not really making much progress by working harder or smarter, it might be that one compartment is being neglected. Make sure you know where your priorities are and that you’re using allotted time for each task under that priority. It takes about 10 minutes to get yourself into the zone, and you can do just about anything during these focus times!

 

Top Strategies To Start Compartmentalizing TODAY

 

So, now that I’ve gone over why compartmentalizing is necessary and how it affects your life, I want to give you my favorite tips you can implement today!

  • Have separate work and personal email accounts: This allows you to shut down your personal email when you’re at work and vice versa.
  • Have separate work and personal phone numbers (for FREE): Use Google Voice: Go to Google, click on apps, click more and find the Google Voice app. It’s free, easy and I’ve been using it for years. You can even set up a different ringtone for work and for personal all while still using the same phone.
  • Create hours of availability vs. hours of business:
    • Hours of availability are the hours that you publish or mention in your voicemail that let people know when you’re available to respond.
    • Hours of business are the focused hours that you work and don’t get disturbed by communications.
    • TIP: If you’re writing emails during business time, you can save them as a draft and send them during your hours of availability. There are also apps you can use to schedule when your email sends. This reiterates that you’re really only available at the times you’ve told them.
  • Put your phone and email on do not disturb:
    • Gmail has a do not disturb mode where you can’t get emails. This is great for people who are always tempted to refresh & check their inbox.
    • Google Voice also has do not disturb mode for the weekends. Once you have your phone number set up, you also can create a separate voicemail for each number, letting people know your availability.
  • Set work hours that work for you: It will depend on whether you’re working for a business or are an entrepreneur or student, etc., but it’s important to assess what hours of business and availability might work best for you. It doesn’t always have to be 9-5, and definitely shouldn’t have to be 11 PM every night.

 

What’s Next?

 

Boundaries are the key to compartmentalizing because you have to communicate those with others. Create a structure and routine that will make you feel empowered and successful.

Go ahead and set up Google Voice, make sure your emails for work and home are separate and use do not disturb mode when you can. When you’re at home, truly focus on the things that are important to you there. Same goes for your work and personal compartment.

Next, I hope you take some action today to start compartmentalizing your life and then tell me about it! Comment below what strategies and systems you currently use and maybe others will get some more great ideas. And if you think you need any more details or examples listen to episode 015!

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Tonya Dalton
Tonya Dalton