It can be incredibly difficult to end work at a specific time and leave it at that. No longer are eight hours standard; now it seems as if we work far more often than we play either because we adore our jobs, we have responsibilities that need to be handled or because we're just workaholics. It's almost as if we feel guilty leaving work behind and focusing on us, our loved ones or on having fun. It may seem counterproductive, but stopping work at a certain time can actually help improve productivity. You can feel more energized and more willing to tackle work responsibilities during set hours. So what are some ways you can stop bringing work home with you (literally and figuratively) so you can feel as if you've established a better work-life balance?
Learn to delegate
One of the biggest things I've had to learn is how to delegate. I prefer to do everything myself, so it was difficult for me to even ask someone to run to the mailbox for me. However, learning to delegate can help you get more things done in less time. Don't hesitate to pass certain tasks off to someone else at work or ask one of your loved ones to get a certain errand done so you don't have to. You may feel awful about it, but most people actually have no problem helping. Just make sure to say thank you and let them know you appreciate their effort.
Turn your phone off during time with loved ones
Whenever I'm with loved ones, my phone goes off or I hide it. This prevents me from taking a phone call for "just one minute" or answering a few quick emails (that turns into 20 emails). Turn your phone off while you're spending time with loved ones. Not only will this help improve your work-life balance, but they'll also appreciate having your undivided attention.
Tell your loved ones when you've had a rough day
Don't let your loved ones wonder what's going on with you if you seem a bit cranky or down when you get home. Most of the time they'll think they upset you in some way. Let them know you've had a rough day even if you don't want to talk about it.
Redirect your negative energy
We're all guilty of it. At some point, we've all taken something out on someone who had nothing to do with our bad mood. It's not fair to that person and it's not even fair to ourselves. Establish an outlet where you can channel that negative energy. Usually the best way to do this is through some form of exercise whether it's kickboxing or cycling. When you redirect the negative energy, you're far less likely to pile it onto someone who doesn't deserve it.
Establish set work hours
This is one of the hardest things to do for workaholics; however, it's one of the best ways to avoid bringing your work home with you. Set a certain amount of hours in which you're going to get work done and stick to it. Allow yourself the rest of the time to recharge, relax and have some fun. You may have a problem with this at first, but after awhile you'll realize it's more rewarding than damaging.
Leave the work at your job
Many of those who bring work home with them don't actually have to. Sure it can help you get more done, but it's going to cut into time for yourself and your loved ones. Rather than bring it home, stay one hour later at work and that's it. When you bring it home with you, there's an unlimited amount of time you could chain yourself to that work and you might keep going right up until you go to bed. Allow yourself that extra hour, but after, leave the work behind as you walk out the door.
Plan your day
One of the best ways I've been able to be more productive while still creating a work-life balance is to plan my day via a to-do list. At the end of each day, make a to-do list of what needs to get done the following day and stick to it. Avoid adding additional tasks if possible. As you go along, cross items off the list which can help motivate you and encourage you to stick to doing only what really needs to get done.
When it comes to work, keep in mind that there's usually always something else you can get done - one more email to send, a few more calls to make, a handful of files to finish, etc. You need to set some boundaries otherwise you could burn yourself out and both you and your productivity will suffer. Rather than looking at it as a negative thing, consider not bringing home work with you a gift to yourself and to those around you.
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