Emma Harris, chief at The Glow London, perhaps embodies the 21st-century working ideal. She runs two companies, raises four kids, serves on the PTA, volunteers for charity, supports her husband, organizes parties, renovates her house, works out on a regular basis, and aims to hit a minimum of 10,000 steps a day.

Something's gotta give. In this case, her heart.

While undoubtedly a worst-case scenario, Harris's experience is emblematic of a wider issue in our work culture: the over-glorification of busyness. How busy we are has become a status symbol and a place where we derive our self-worth. We mistake workaholism for passion, spreading ourselves too thin for commitment to the cause, chronic availability for engagement.

And it's killing us. The irony is that it's killing the quality of our work, too.

The good news is that we can indeed have it all. And, no, this isn't another preachy "work-life balance" article. For some of us, work is a part of life, and life is a part of work, and it's not a bad thing. The trick is to optimize our different "selves" to maximize quality performance in each role we play throughout our day. This is where science comes in.

Turn your camera off

Sounds controversial, right? Admittedly, turning your camera on has important benefits. People report feeling more connected to their colleagues and assigned tasks, and more confident in team-building efforts.

But it's terrible for creativity. Videoconferencing forces our eyes to focus on one area (the screen), and research using eye-gaze and recall measures found that this narrows our cognitive focus. It turns out, for creative idea generation, our eyes need to wander around the room. On video, this might come across as rude or disinterested.

Even if we decide to delay our creative hours for when our meetings are over, we then run into Zoom fatigue. Research shows that we feel more drained and less engaged following a day of video meetings. This makes it difficult to pick our creative momentum back up after meetings, leading to slower work output, and ultimately longer hours of work.

In other words, if you know you have a brainstorming session coming up, turn your camera off.

"Unhook" your brain with a ritual

Work fulfills our craving for meaning and community, it's a great reward system, and it can help us feel more control over our lives. It's unsurprising that we sometimes let it go into overdrive. 

How can we escape? This is where rituals come in. At its simplest, a ritual is a symbolic series of behaviors performed in a specific order, at a specific time, for a specific reason. Rituals can bring order, peace, and community into our lives and are used by cultures the world over to separate important events from the day-to-day humdrum.

Marking the start and end of your workday with a personal ritual will help you create a cognitively impermeable boundary between your work "self" and life "self." By "unhooking" your brain in this way, you're sending messages to your entire body to divert its focus to something other than work. 

The result is you'll feel less anxious, more rested, more present in your home life, more tuned in to your bodily needs, and ready to get going again the next morning! 

Are you revenge procrastinating?

Ever work so long that, come bedtime, you purposely stay up late mindlessly scrolling through your news feed for some "me time" instead of going to bed? This is called revenge bedtime procrastination, and we do it to fool ourselves into feeling a regained sense of control over our schedules. 

The bad news is that it feeds into the toxic cycle of more overwork the next day. Not only are you sleep-deprived, but your thinking, memory, and decision-making abilities are undermined. You become more stressed, anxious, and irritated. This is terrible for your productivity, and even worse for your quality of life.

The result? Longer work hours the next day, feeling less control over your day, more revenge procrastination -- and the vicious cycle continues.

To combat this, create an enjoyable and soothing bedtime ritual that eases you into a drowsy state. This means no screens.