It’s never been so important to be tapped in at work – but your home life can suffer if you’re constantly receiving alerts on your phone, bringing your focus back to the workplace.
It’s important to be available for meetings, make time in your day for important phone calls and respond to emails, but you shouldn’t be expected to be attached to your phone at the hip outside of work time.
A study recently flagged by author Dr. Tasha Eurich found that half of employees feel that their workload is currently unsustainable. Thirty-three per cent also think about work the moment they wake up, and for 75 per cent, the thoughts creep in as they lay down at night to go to sleep – or worse, the thoughts keep them up at night.
If you’re starting to feel like your job is taking over your life, with consequences on your relationships, it’s time to try a proactive approach in getting the most out of your downtime.
Workers who have conflict at home are less healthy and happy – and can tend to take on destructive habits to escape rather than cope with the stress.
The following are a few ways Dr. Eurich suggests to stop your job from invading your home life:
1. Work smarter
Working more does not necessarily mean you’re being more productive. Think about some of the time you waste starting your day – firing up your computer, answering a load of emails, and leisurely strolling to the kitchen to pour a coffee.
You run into a coworker and gab for a few minutes, and when you get down to work, you get interrupted by another coworker with her own agenda.
Consider how many hours of your workday are actually productive, and see where you can eliminate time so you don’t have to stay overtime.
You aren’t more important or valuable if you stay at work for ten hours, it’s about efficiency.
To get more accomplished in less time, try Dr. Eurich’s One Less Thing Principle.
For every task, ask yourself:
• Can this activity be focused so less time is spent completing it?
• Can this activity be delegated to another person or group?
• Can this activity be stopped?
2. Take power breaks
Surprisingly, short breaks can help you refocus and maintain sharpness on your task. If you feel your eyes start to glaze over, try walking around the office or grabbing tea or a snack.
Taking quick “power” breaks actually speeds up your progress, and improves performance. Briefly taking a break from concentrating on the task will feel better, and the results are better too.
Powering down from work emails and calls can help you in the long run too. Plan evenings and weekends as a well-deserved power-down – maybe you can’t do this every evening, certainly not around important deadlines or work events, but aim for at least three evenings per week. And if you absolutely have to work on one day on the weekend around important deadlines, make sure you take the alternate day off. If you work on Saturday, make sure Sunday is spent relaxing and recharging, and spending some quality time with friends or family.
3. Work it out
Sometimes it’ll feel like the last thing you want to do is lace up and go for a jog after a long day of work, but the exercise really will give you a renewed dose of energy. And a fresh perspective. High-intensity workouts especially are proven to help reduce anxiety.
Exercise can also help you repair this work-family conflict, because your mood and energy is boosted by the exercise.
In a study of 476 workers, workers who exercised regularly were found to have less conflict between work and home.
It can be a strong way to mentally detach from work and recharge you to be present at home.