How to Actually Leave Work at the Office
posted on October 8, 2018 | by Joana Veiga Ferreira
If you’re anything like me, then you’re constantly glued to your smartphone. Whether for work or pleasure, the fact that we’re constantly ‘connected’ and ‘available’ puts an ever-growing pressure to be ‘always-on’ like never before. This can be a great thing; I mean who doesn’t love being able to check live traffic feeds while you travel and figure out if there’s a quicker route, or check into your flight while you’re on your way to the airport? Convenience is everything, but is this pressure to be ‘always-on’ also causing more stress and expectation to continue on work-mode even after we leave the office? I think so.
If you’re the kind of person who checks (and responds to) work emails in the evenings or spends the last hour before bed preparing for work the next day instead of relaxing, then this article is for you. It’s so important for us to not forget that just because we CAN work 24/7 doesn’t mean we SHOULD, and that leaving work at the office is important for our mental health, our overall productivity and let’s not forget, our happiness and the happiness of those around us!
Leave Your Phone in a Different Room
It’s so tempting to check your inbox while you’re watching TV or in the middle of dinner. And that’s because our phones are ALWAYS THERE! So, try this simple trick: leave your phone in a different room. This way, when you get the urge to pick it up, you have to think ‘is this worth walking over to the other room for?’ I guarantee you 9 times out of 10 it’s not. Simple right?
Switch off Emails Over the Weekend
Your weekends or days off should be reserved for you, your family, your friends, and whatever makes you happy. If you have access to your work emails via your phone, disable this feature during the weekends to make sure you’re not tempted to check your inbox when you should be enjoying a romantic dinner with your partner. Even if you think work is a pleasure right now, give your mind a rest from it! It’ll help overall performance.
Prepare for the Next Day
A lot of times, we feel the need to work from home in the evenings because it feels like we left things to do at the office. To avoid this, make sure you finish a task before you leave the office. Prepare for the next day. Write down a list of what needs to be done first thing the following day. Then you’ll know you’re organized and don’t need to worry about this in the evening.
Find a Weekday Hobby
In many cases, we find ourselves working at home in the evenings because we feel we have nothing better to do, so we might as well ‘catch up’ or even get ahead. In our 30s, this is no way to enjoy life! So, pick up a weekday hobby.
That could be joining a local club like a book club, movie club, or running club, where you can meet like-minded people and socialize. Or it could be a sport, like joining a local yoga studio, or signing up for an evening spinning class. Or how about picking up a pastime you’ve always wanted to get better at? Maybe cooking? Knitting? Scrapbooking?
Give yourself a challenge and promise yourself you will stick to it and keep improving. Sometimes, having something to do that brings us pleasure is all we need to forget about work and really ‘switch off’.
Get to Those Chores
It might sound counter-productive to take up chores in an effort to avoid working instead. But there is logic to the madness! Think about all those tasks that are on your to-do list that you just keep avoiding, and tackle some of these slowly throughout the week. Things like organizing your closet, cleaning out the garage, painting the dining room walls, etc. Getting through those tasks will feel extremely rewarding, and it’s something that benefits you personally, rather than the company you work for.
In saying that, working on chores throughout the week also leaves you with a lot more free time at the weekend, allowing you to completely relax instead of catching up on the chores you didn’t do throughout the week. Now do you see how it makes sense?
Exercise & Meditation
Exercise is something I have already mentioned but it’s worth mentioning it again. Regular exercise and/or meditation is a fantastic way to keep us healthy, body and mind, and it also helps us to put things into perspective. That super duper important email you needed to send on a Tuesday evening at 10pm suddenly doesn’t seem that urgent. That document you had to complete so that it would be in your boss’ inbox before they get into the office the next day? You realize that it can wait until 10 am the next morning!
Exercise helps us find clarity. Meditation helps us keep calm. All of these things help us put situations into perspective and weigh out the importance and priority. So, take up regular exercise, and practice meditation. Trust me, it helps!
I hope these tips help to get you enjoying that 30-something life instead of only focusing on work. I’d love if you could share what you do to log off, too!