With technology these days it’s hard not to be constantly connected to the office. Many of us take full advantage of this by working longer days and dipping into tasks outside of office hours. This may help us to be more productive and accomplish our goals a little easier, but it’s not always good for us.
Staying connected to your work and not fully allowing yourself to relax and disconnect may have a negative impact in the long run. You may feel less alert at work and be less able to participate fully in social activities. From a health perspective, studies show that those less able to switch off from work were three times more likely to develop heart disease!
Switching off can be easier said than done but the key is setting work-life boundaries and sticking to them. These 3 key steps may help you to flip that switch and feel more relaxed in work and at home.
1. Leave work at work
Use the final 30 minutes of your day to wrap up any loose ends and to plan for the next day. It’s important for your peace of mind to know that you’ve dealt with everything you need to. Then you can switch off.
Try keeping a list of every task you need to complete throughout the day and at the end of the day go back over the list, tick off everything you have done and move everything you haven’t over to tomorrow’s list. Once you have planned your tasks for the day, you’ll notice that your mind doesn’t wander to them quite so easily.
When leaving the office, if at all possible switch off your phone and switch off your laptop. If it makes you feel better, put an out of office reply on and adjust your voicemail so that anyone contacting you knows you will get back to them in the morning. You need to ensure that you aren’t going to be tempted to check your phone or emails constantly throughout the evening. Whoever is contacting you knows you will be in touch in the morning.
The final stage of this step is not discussing work-related issues at home. Now, we are all human and sometimes after a particularly busy day we need to let off steam, so allow yourself 20 minutes to discuss anything you need to get off your chest with a friend or a loved one, then stop. It’s time to relax.
2. Create a personal relaxing ritual
Now that work is over, your brain needs to know that it is over. I recommend spending 20-30 minutes doing something to remove yourself mentally from the office. Going to the gym, taking a walk, practicing yoga and listening to music are all good ways to get yourself into a relaxed head-space.
If you’re short on time, even just having a shower and getting changed can help you psychologically remove yourself from a working frame of mind. You’ll feel detached from the office in no time.
3. Do something!
Now that you’ve got the office out of your head, don’t allow it back in! Make the most of your evenings by scheduling after-work activities. Even if you get home from work and you’re only in the mood for slobbing out in front of the TV, having a scheduled activity to go to forces you to get out of your own head. More often than not after a few minutes you’ll have forgotten that you weren’t in the mood anyway!
If you don’t fancy being mega-active, just try to avoid slouching in front of the TV all evening – your mind will inevitably slip back into thinking about work. Take up that hobby you’ve been meaning to try out, go out for a meal with friends, pop round and see your family or simply pick up a book. Really make the most of your leisure time.
Try these easy steps and you’ll not only begin to feel happier and more relaxed at home, you’ll also be more alert and productive in the office.