Getting out of work-mode

There is nothing quite like getting away from home to feel like you are having a proper break from your work. But many of us simply find it hard to stop working. The trouble with working too hard for too long is that it eventually comes at a cost  – feeling drained, experiencing health problems, or perhaps strained relationships at home. For some who defer their need for fun and freedom for too long, when they do have fun, they do so in high cost ways – heavy drinking being one of the most popular.

So how do we find a better balance between our work and personal life? We first need to have a way of thinking that helps us to take action. Some of us are simply not thinking. We are on automatic pilot but not appreciating where our choices are taking us. Others think they need to finish a certain project before they go home. The trouble with this type of thinking is that if you wait until you have an empty in-basket before you stop work, you may well be waiting a long time. Some people find it helps to think, ‘That’s enough for today’ or ‘If I keep doing this, my family is missing out’. Find a thought that is motivating for you.

Others find they have trouble getting out of work mode, thinking about work, even when they have gone home for the day. Here is where having children can be a real strength. Focusing on what they are needing or simply engaging with them, can help break out of unwanted thinking. This also holds true for other things that engage your attention, such as passions. For example, I find that when I am cycling, it is impossible for me to remain in work-focused thinking. Other people have rituals that help them to disengage from their work. Getting out of your work clothes is a good start. Others find that having a shower helps them to wash away the challenges of the day. Others find that turning off their mobile phone or home computer also helps them to turn off from work.

When we set limits on how much time we give our work, we can often find that we get more done in less time. When we set firm limits on how long we are going to be at work, we tend to work more effectively with the time we have. Furthermore, when we allow ourselves to recharge properly in our personal life, we not only become happier within ourselves, we also become happier and more productive at work.

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