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I find myself getting carried away and working late sometimes - How can I have better WLB?

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Mid-Level Software Engineer [SWE4] at Mercari2 years ago

I'm trying to figure out how to have a better disconnect between work and outside of work. Sometimes I'll get carried away on a task and I'll work pretty late on it, which negatively affects my sleep schedule. It’s all been kind of blurred, I can’t even remember when I stopped working sometimes. I'm also working with people in different time zones, so I'll work later than the traditional 9 to 5.

Overall, it's not too bad though. I'm mostly not working weekends, and this is mainly a thing on me: I don't have external pressure/crazy deadlines to overwork.



  • 18
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    Robinhood, Meta, Course Hero, PayPal
    2 years ago
    • Quickest tactic: Set a recurring daily alarm to tell yourself to stop working. From there, it's up to you to respect the alarm.
    • Having clean, healthy work/life boundaries is another thing that manifests as a habit. The hardest part is the beginning: Get into the groove of respecting that groove/time cut-off 5-10 times and actually stopping work, and from there, your brain will start automatically doing it.
    • A more extreme option is to insert hard commitments to stop yourself from working. For example, you want to stop working at 7PM, so you set up dinner with a friend around that time.
    • Make sure that the technology is cleanly split as well. Don't look at your work laptop after working hours. Mute work notifications. Pretend your work devices don't exist after working hours (unless you are oncall).

    Related resources:

  • 15
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    Staff Software Engineer @ DoorDash, ex-FB, ex-Klaviyo
    a year ago

    In my experience, what works best for me is to block off times on work my calendar dedicated for

    • workout
    • cooking
    • winding down It acts both as a reminder to myself and also a note to co-workers.

    I also encourage you to take a step back what is the problem you are trying to solve here. WLB is a tricky word because it's you that need to find the balance. 9 - 5 is not necessarily what you should aim for based on your circumstance.

    Sounds like you are in a flow state working on something you are passionate about. That's a good thing. If it's impacting your sleep because of you cannot turn off your mind soon enough, work on that.

  • 3
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    Team Lead (people manager) at Mistplay
    15 days ago

    I totally relate to this feeling a lot - I always like to get ahead and get the task resolved now. Breaks are important when especially when stuck: 1 min video here, but helpful all the time. You've got to take care of yourself first!

    In addition to having a hard "stop time" I recommend before that do a soft wind down:

    • Write down what you've just been doing
    • Write down next steps you want to work on

    You'll come back the next day with with a running start.

  • 2
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    Tech Lead/Manager at Meta, Pinterest, Kosei
    15 days ago

    A few hacks that have worked for me:

    • Schedule an engagement with a friend, e.g. pickleball at 6pm. This will force you to stop working at a reasonable hour, and I've found it also makes me more productive during the day.
    • Create separation between your "workspace" and your normal life. This is harder to do in the age of remote work, but could you allocate an office in your apartment, or choose a coffee shop as a dedicated workspace?
      • Also allocate certain spaces as sacred where your work laptop is not allowed, e.g. bedroom or family room.
    • Learn to say "not right now." This is easier than saying no. If someone pings you after hours, just reply saying you'll take a look the next day.