Setting Boundaries Around Y​our Work Will Make For A Happier, Productive Life

Setting Boundaries Around Y​our Work Will Make For A Happier, Productive Life

Work hard, play hard, right?

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Do you know how the most productive people always seem to be preaching about never working from bed? Trust me, I have plenty of grievances with this supposedly vital tip to pursuing your happiest, healthiest, and most efficient lifestyle. I mean, I can't even begin to count how many times I've gotten so warm and cozy and sleepy and put my head down for what I like to call a "five-minute nap" which never, and I stress never, ever ends up just being that.

For those of us lucky enough to work or perform tasks as quotidian enough as assignments from the comfort of our homes as opposed to "that" of a cubicle or library, we're straddling the fence between totally blessed and cursed. At first glance, the convenience of completing most, if not all of our responsibilities without having to put on proper pants sounds like a dream, but it's actually more likely to result in our own psychological disarray.

First of all, the stress of our many responsibilities can so easily bleed into our perception of what should be a relaxing atmosphere. This is not to say this only holds true if we happen to not really enjoy the work that we're doing–the pressure we feel to meet deadlines and our best work, no matter the subject, tends to melt into permanent association with the place in which we experience it. And I know what you're thinking, for us students, this is harder than ever to prevent. After a long day of classes and possibility, a shift or whatever else the day holds, going anywhere else but home to complete the night's homework is probably the last thing we want to do. It doesn't necessarily matter where we may be tackling a to-do list and likely enduring at least some amount of stress along with it, as long as there is a boundary placed between time and location for productivity and repose.

One of my professors swears by implementing a personal "totem," meaning a designated object to serve as a form of tangible separation from his work and relaxation/family/personal time. For him, it's a set of work keys that never enter his house. I'll be honest, I don't know the full extent of this sort of demarcation, and I'm sure there have been a few exceptions once he's been home for the day, as in answering urgent work-related emails if the circumstances deem it necessary. But I admire this ability to condition oneself to access each appropriate part of themselves that would otherwise be spread ridiculously thin without structured time for advancing one's personal life.

Now that I abide by certain productive habits, it's still very hard to live by these rules in pursuit of self-care and just turn them off whenever the time permits. Because for my always on, on, on, type of a brain, I'm looking to maximize my efforts in a limited amount of time no matter what I'm doing. And this, this is draining (to say the least).

As what I'd consider a relatively productive person, I can preach this all day and never once take my own advice. But setting these boundaries with yourself is really the only way any of us can achieve the optimal balance between progressing in our personal, educational, and professional lives and just taking a much-needed breather more often than you'd normally allow one.

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It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.
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Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.


Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

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The Danger Of Future Tripping

Making small goals can help you achieve a better tomorrow.

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The future is mysterious. Because of this elusive, unknown timeline we all face, why shouldn't we spend our time daydreaming of our distant goals and desires? These dreams have a tendency to taunt us in our seemingly boring present life. But it feels so wonderful to visualize ourselves in a better, distant state of absolute satisfaction and fulfillment in all aspects of our future. This visual that we create of a happier, healthier, and stronger self, is what we consider to be our ending goal; our definition of success.

So what is future tripping, and why is it detrimental to our future success and present satisfaction with our lives? According to Healthyplace.com future tripping is a "human condition of peering into the imagined future and anticipating the outcome," but what's wrong with visualizing our "perfect" future career, future lifestyle, and future home, with a wood burning stove and all? Well, before I completely bash visualizing a "better" you, I have to give it credit because it gives you a motivator. The issue is that people, including myself, get so caught up in what we want rather than what we need to do to achieve this version of ourselves and our life.

If we were to only focus on our ending goal, we are creating an existence of madness, and impatience. We need to begin making smaller goals and smaller effort in an effort to become better. A peer of mine said something the other day that struck home. In my own words, he said, "You can only be better than the person you were yesterday." What a simple, achievable goal to work on daily. It sets the bar low, making it easier to feel satisfied as you lie in bed at night and think, "What did I do today that made me a better me than yesterday?" In making these small, easily achievable goals daily, you are working towards this future "self" you wish to become. In other words, you must walk before you can run.

The sooner we begin rewiring our consciousness to confront our current life, self, and mini goals, the more attainable and realistic our far-off goals will become. Each day must be lived, that is a fact. If we are always thinking about tomorrow, or a year from now, or decades from now, we are wasting the precious opportunities of living, exploring, and growing that today offers. If we continue to romanticize and future trip, our levels of current satisfaction will begin to plateau.

I'd like to add and reiterate, that it is good to plan, and that it is good to have an overarching goal to work towards. College presents a perfect environment for structuring your goals (career/life path), and giving you daily errands (homework) that slowly, but surely, take you closer to your desired outcome.

So I hope that in reading this, you will start to catch yourself from future tripping in those moments of current disappointment and make a goal to make tomorrow better.

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