How to bring work productivity home

My career is off the hook, but my personal life is in shambles.  Taxes aren’t filed, my house needs disinfecting, my laundry is a perpetual dirty pile, my friends barely see me, my family doesn’t know if I still exist, and I haven’t been to the dentist in ages.

Despite my contrarianism, I let it sink in that I like how systematised work is, how fun it can be, how I learn from the great people around me, how enthralled I get in the projects, and how it challenges me.

I shouldn’t feel ashamed by this, but work-life balance is a popular topic in business and life hack blogs.  So screw it, I’ll say it anyways.  I love work more than personal life tasks.

I-love-work (photo by Sound of Music)

So what did I do about it?  I brought work home in an entirely different way.

Freedom with a Framework

At Nano Magnetics where I work, we use a scrum framework to plan out our work for the upcoming week and months ahead.  So, I starting using that same regimented system at home.

For fellow workaholics, I highly recommend scrum methodology.  Otherwise, you may never get anything done at home because you have better things to do at work.  I’m convinced of it because I live by it.

Download your Brain Content

When you free your mind of all the things you have to do or don’t want to do but have to, glorious things happen. You can stop thinking about them. When the time comes when you have to do them, you can iron focus on them and get it done.

Part of downloading your brain is writing down everything you have to do.  Like everything (to do now, next month, next year, tomorrow etc).  Beyond tasks like banking, housework and appointments, I also include “things”  I want to learn and goals I want to accomplish.

My own scrum includes goals for keeping my blog updated (Tech Tuesday as I refer to it), the Lynda.com courses I want to finish, a book a month from Audible.com, and  letters/emails I want to write to the people I love who should know I’m still alive and happy.

How to Scrum your Life:

1) Brain Dump all the things you need to get done during the week/month(s) on sticky notes
2) Organize the sticky notes based on if they need to get done in the coming week (called a sprint)
3) Stick all the items that don’t need to get done next week on a wall in your house as a backlog (so you can see them and know they eventually need to get done
4) Sort the sticky notes for this coming week’s sprint by order of importance or by which day they need to get done

Top tip: Break down big/tough tasks! If you hate going to the dentist, make one note to call the dentist to set an appointment and a second sticky note to actually go (noting date and time).  If you create a sticky note without a very clear deliverable, you’ll never get it done. A great example of this is “clean the house”.   There’s no end to that task. Instead, create a series of sticky notes for different rooms in your house. Set yourself up to succeed!

What Scrum Framework Looks Like:

scrum-task-board-template-powerpoint

If this is your first time hearing about scrum or you’d like a refresher, I recommend this post on scrum and agile methodology by the Post-it Note folks.

In closing, I’d like to iterate that there’s no shame in being a workaholic. When work becomes your passion, you’re living a blessed life where you’re using your God given abilities. Screw balance, just make sure you get everything done you need to, to succeed in work and in life as a healthy, vibrant human being.

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