Take this scenario: you’re at home and are just about to dive into the latest must-watch on Netflix when your phone beeps. It’s your work emails. You see there are 6 unread messages. You decide to ignore it and click the play button on the remote, but you can’t shake the uneasy feeling, ‘what if there’s an emergency at work?’. You respond to the mails and find yourself doing two hours of meeting planning and presentation prep (on top of the 10 you spent at the office).
The days of the 9-to-5 office hours are gone as more people are working beyond office hours most days, bringing their work home with them, and are even thinking about work at the weekend. If any of the above applies to you, it’s time for you to learn how to clock out of emails and clock into R&R. Here are 6 ways to help you leave your work at the office door.
1. Don’t add work to your phone
Leave your work emails off your phone. If you’re waiting on an email, you can always log in to check but there is no need for you to be receiving notifications for emails that can wait until tomorrow.
2. Turn off push notifications
If it’s not possible for you to leave your emails and other work-related apps off your phone, turn off push notifications. That way you can check them on your own terms.
3. Ignore phone calls outside office hours
Even if you’re still at your desk, if your work phone rings after office hours, don’t feel obligated to pick up the phone. Your workday has officially ended – return the call in the morning.
4. Limit work chat at home
It’s normal to chat about work over dinner and venting to your partner/friend/roommate can be helpful after a tough day but monitor how much time you’re talking about work at home. Reliving a particularly stressful day brings negative energy into the home so limit work chat to help you switch off.
5. Practise Mindfulness
Mindfulness exercises like meditation and aromatherapy are powerful as they help you de-stress. Take a few minutes every evening for yourself; focus on your breathing and the sounds around you.
6. Have an evening activity
A good way to switch off after work is to have something to put your energy and focus into after office hours. This could be signing up for a class or taking on a new hobby or it could simply be an evening run or walk with a friend. And be strict with it, use it to leave the office on time and take brain out of work mode.