Wed, 8 Jan, 2020
It would hardly be a stretch of the imagination to say that working from home during quarantine has been something of a challenge for many of us—especially when it comes to switching off at the end of the day.
Now that your home is the new office – you may work longer hours and late into the evening, constantly check emails and generally find it hard to disengage with work after business hours.
Why switching off matters.
Picture this— you woke up, checked your email and immediately replied, worked hard on a couple of projects, researched, answered more emails, read a few relevant articles, wrote about a creative new approach, checked notifications… Maybe even did a lot of these at the same time.
At the end of the workday, your brain has 40 open tabs and you’re all over the place. It’s no wonder you can’t stop thinking about work and what to do the next day.
However, there are good reasons to resist this hamster-wheel dynamic. Why are relaxing and switching off important?
To the younger generations, work-life balance might seem like an outdated concept— Gen Z, for example, has the worst work-life balance ever. And when your work starts invading the rest of your life, it creates work-related stress.
The phrase ‘work-related stress’ might not seem like much, but it is. Too much work and high levels of stress can damage your relationships, leave you with long-term health issues, as well as (paradoxically?) causing you to get worse at your job or even burn out.
Tech plays a big role in these increasing stress levels— a deluge of information keeps us unable to focus and our constant availability tempts even the best of us into working continually from our phones.
Despite all these factors and distractions around us, we can learn to focus and develop a better work-life balance for healthier relationships and a happier life. The key is switching off.
6 Tips to switch off after work.
It’s hard, we get it. Everyone’s tempted into answering emails first thing in the morning or working on that exciting project late into the night.
But we’re here to help you live your best possible career— and healthy work habits are part of that.
How do you learn to switch off from work?
1. Say no to homework.
For anyone who’s ever been a student, that’s an unlikely phrase. Homework equals being responsible, right? But hear us out— trying to be productive all the time instead of resting when you need to rest will make you less productive during your actual working hours.
Your brain needs to recharge, so don’t give in to urges like ‘I need to finish this project before work tomorrow’ or ‘If I research this now then I won’t have to do it at work’. Don’t make promises to take work home with you. Let your manager and teammates know you’re creating a boundary.
When you finish your work, leave work behind you.
2. Do something to draw the line.
Mindset is everything. If you still feel like you’re at work, you’ll end up doing work stuff in your free time. In our experience, choosing one task or activity to break up your day is a sound strategy.
It can be anything from taking a walk or hitting the gym to doing groceries or reading for 15 minutes— the key is to stick to it every day. Do this and you’ll be programming yourself to enter a calmer non-work mindset.
3. Use different phones.
As we said, tech can be the worst enemy of someone with poor work-life boundaries. A solution: use one phone for work and a different one for your personal life, relationships, and free-time activities.
It’s not just about having different numbers and not getting bothered by clients or bosses when you’re watching your fave Netflix show either.
You’ll have to delete all work-related apps from your personal phone. No more mobile Office, Trello, Slack, and others so you won’t be tempted down the rabbit hole.
Also, if you haven’t already done this, set up a different email for your personal communications. Decouple your work email from your personal phone. Done.
4. Wear different clothes.
When you work from home, we usually suggest wearing clothes that make you feel professional and are a bit more formal than your panda bear pyjamas. The goal is to create an office-like mindset and increase productivity.
By the same logic, if your problem is slowing down and switching off after work, it makes sense to change into comfier, more casual clothes (maybe get those panda bear pyjamas?).
Make changing clothes the first thing you do when you get home. When you’re feeling less restricted and formal, it’ll get easier to relax and leave those Excel sheets behind.
5. Do what makes you happy.
In this day and age, we’ve all heard wonders about the benefits of mindfulness. Focusing on doing something you enjoy (like cooking, doodling, practising a sport or meditating, reading a novel, etc.) can do wonders for both your mental and physical health.
Concentrating your attention on just the one thing (instead of juggling tasks as you do at work) trains your brain to be less worried and scattered. It’s also been proven to make you happier.
There’s no excuse here— focusing on a hobby you love plus getting health benefits and becoming happier? Count us in!
6. Every ending is an opportunity.
It’ll be a lot easier to leave work at the office if you round off your workday positively. Of course, you can’t always finish a task right on time and just start fresh the next day. But there are things you can do to leave on a high note and get a feeling of closure for the rest of the day.
Start by focusing on your space. Is your desk tidy? Or do you have disorganised piles of paperwork and stationery lying around? Before you leave your desk, try creating a pleasing layout that makes you feel accomplished. Another benefit— you get a positive, blank slate for the next morning.
Another good idea: create a to-do list with the tasks you’ve left unfinished and everything you have to get done on the next shift. This way, you won’t worry about it when you’re home, practising mindfulness, or chilling with your loved ones.
Productivity and output aren’t sustainable if you don’t rest, relax, and focus on your happiness. To build a career that manifests your full potential, you’ve gotta take care of yourself.
Looking for a new job with a better culture fit and work-life balance? Send us your CV— we’re always happy to help you take exciting career steps.
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