Switching off after work should be easy, right? When you are on the clock, do you do what needs to be done, and then not think about it when you head off for the evening? Most of us would say, our work brain is constantly still ticking even when our laptops are switched off. With technology allowing people to be accessible 24/7 and working from home almost becoming the new normal, it is getting harder to create a dynamic work-life balance with these new blurred lines.
The constant stress and lack of downtime is not only bad for your mental health, but can also take a toll on your physical health too. Fatigue can quickly set in, causing people to be less productive in the long run. With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the top five tips and tricks to improve your work-life balance.
- Unplug. Simply said, when it’s time to clock off for the day, actually DO IT, by switching off your notifications to silence your phone. Although technology has aided our lives in an abundance of ways, it has also manufactured the expectation of round-the-clock accessibility. Studies suggest that receiving phone notifications during downtime interrupts your ‘relax mode’ and increases stress levels that, for the most part, have disappeared.
- Step away. When you are not needed at your desk, remove yourself from the work space for breaks, including grabbing lunch or a quick coffee. Although you may not be working during these short periods, constantly spending the majority of your day sitting in one spot, can increase your fatigue and prevent your busy brain from switching off. Use your lunch break as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. If you are often struggling with anxiety or stress, a few breathing exercises during your downtime can help you regain focus.
- Establish boundaries. Set your working hours ahead of schedule and communicate your daily routine to managers, colleagues and others, if needed, to stay on track as much as possible. By establishing boundaries early on in your career, relevant contacts will quickly come to understand your downtime hours and avoid getting in touch. For those of you not working the usual full time hours, set up your ‘out of office’ automatic replies to your emails to ensure communications are reduced, unless urgent matters arise.
- Set a task. If you are still working from home and don’t need to leave the office as such to distinguish the end of your work day, have a plan in place or activity to complete that tells you and your brain to switch off. It is very easy to head straight to the couch and pull out your phone, however, similar to eating your lunch at your desk, the lack of distinction makes it challenging for you to clock off, even if you have done so physically.
Instead, try doing some exercise, grocery shopping or any other small tasks that involve physical activity in a different space. This helps your brain realise that work is finished for the day.
- Start small. Just like you can’t train for a marathon in one day, working overtime every single week won’t immediately reduce, without seeing you put in the work to drastically change your production output. So, focus on starting small. Try turning your phone off for a day over the weekend or practice mindfulness three mornings per week.
By slowly incorporating these healthy tips and tricks into your everyday routine is the perfect way to strike the ultimate work-life balance. If you have any other advice for this topic of conversation, we would love to hear from you. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.