We are all familiar with the fact that working long hours leads to burnout, stress, anxiety, and even severe health diseases such as heart attacks. But, despite all of that, we continue to push ourselves to work even harder and longer. An average person works 45 hours a week. And, some people work even 50 or more hours a week. If that weren't enough, they all fail to leave work at work and bring it home instead. They spend 'after hours' answering emails, returning phone calls, making presentations, etc.
Most people believe that working more will contribute to higher productivity (which will, in return, contribute to more accomplishments). However, overworking can only make you less productive! When you burn out your mind and body, they stop functioning properly. Thus, it is necessary to leave work at work and use your free time to relax and recharge. We know how difficult that may be for some of you, but you must try! So, here are our seven ways to leave work at work.
1. Plan the End of Your Work Day
This sounds relatively straightforward, but many people fail to do so. Namely, when we arrive at work, we tend to go with the flow, finish tasks, procrastinate if there is time, or even complete some daily habits that drain our energy instead of helping us. But then, at the end of the work day, we realize we haven't done any prioritizing. So, we are forced to stay longer or bring our work home. This is all because we didn't plan the end of our workday!
To prevent this from happening, in other words, to leave work at work, plan when you want to leave. Then, prioritize everything that you must do until that time. Don't waste your time on anything irrelevant. Plan your day and stick to that plan.
2. Notify Everybody That You Have to Leave at a Certain Time
If you constantly volunteer to work overtime, your colleagues and managers will get used to that. They expect you to finish everybody's work, fix all the problems, and simply handle everything they don't want to do. But, no matter how much you like working and being in charge of everything, doing all this work overtime will, sooner or later, drive you crazy. It will stress you out. Then, you will either get into a fight with somebody or with yourself.
Neither of these 'stress managements' is good. You need to find healthy ways to deal with it and reduce overall stress. For instance, you can tell everybody that you won't be able to stay after working hours. Or, you can ask them to call you only during working hours. Do this once, then twice, every day of the week, and everybody around you will stop giving you last-minute tasks or expect your help after 5 PM.
3. Give Yourself Time to Leave
Even if you decide to leave work at work, it will be hard at first. Right before you decide to leave, you will be distracted by emails, phone calls, questions from your colleagues, messy files, etc. You mustn't allow these things to prolong your working hours. So, every day, schedule some time to handle everything stopping you from going home. That can be just 20 minutes or half an hour before your departure. Treat those minutes like you would treat an important meeting. Focus on the tasks that must be done and don't allow anything or anybody to interfere.
To get your paycheck and not worry about money, you need to do your work. And just as previously mentioned, you probably fill your days with random tasks that are not necessarily part of your work, and because of that, you don't finish everything on time. So, you are forced to stay late and do the work that you are paid for.
You have to learn how to prioritize! Train yourself (that is, train your mind) to focus on the most important things as soon as you arrive in the office. Finish all the important things ahead of time, and then, if you have some time left, do the less important ones. Or, leave the less important ones for tomorrow.
5. Schedule Time for Hobbies after Work
Maybe you work overtime because you get bored at home. But, who says that you have to go home after work. There are many other places you can go to and have fun. For instance, you can do your favorite hobby after work (go to a pottery class, language class, etc.) or do some physical activity (yoga, pilates, boxing, etc.). Or, go home to focus on cooking your favorite meals and maybe even share your recipes online. Find something that makes you relaxed and happy. Once you do, schedule time for it right after your work. This will undoubtedly motivate you to not overwork and spend your free time doing something you love.
6. Pick up the Phone
We love our emails. They are an excellent means of communication. But, sometimes, waiting for a replay can take ages. That drains one's energy and time! So, instead of waiting for an answer to the important email, just pick up the phone. Calling your client, customer, manager, etc., over the phone will save you a lot of time you would otherwise spend typing, responding, checking, sorting, and who knows what else.
Don't allow your cluttered and disorganized inbox to drain your energy and stop you from leaving work at work. To leave work at work, you need to change your strategy. But, of course, check with your manager first! You don't want to infringe on the company's policy.
7. Take Advantage of Technology
Phones can save you a lot of time, just like mentioned above. But so can the rest of technology! Technology is there to make our lives (and our work) easier! So, use it to your advantage. Find tools and apps that can help you do your job faster. Get a better phone, laptop, or even a better tablet if necessary. You would be surprised at how much time and energy you can save by using the right technology.
However, don't let that same technology overpower you. When you have so many things in front of you – things that are blinking, clicking, ringing, etc., it is easy to get distracted. So, once again, use technology to your favor and turn it off when you need to stay focused. You can use an app for that too. For instance, an app called Freedom can, upon your command, turn off your Wi-Fi and disconnect you from everything in just one click.
As you have seen, there are many ways you can leave work at work. We mentioned just a few of them, but you already know there are many more ways. You just have to research on your own, try a couple of your ways, and find what works best for you.