Now that so many people have cell phones these days they receive notifications and calls while on the go. While this can be a good thing it also has its drawbacks. And cell phones are only part of the problem.
But one issue cell phones cause is the inability to turn off work. In other words, achieving separation from work is more difficult than ever.
That can cause stress at home, shortened vacations, less family time, and marital problems among other things. But there are ways to keep work from bleeding into your home life.
1. Maximize Time at Work
To keep work from bleeding into family time, try using time management strategies to maximize work hours. Here are a couple of ideas to try:
Make Full Use of Calendar Apps
If you want to have more time away from work make better use of your calendar. Check out some of the features you haven’t been using. You might be surprised to learn of something new that will save you time.
Do you know of keyboard shortcuts you aren’t using? In the beginning, it may slow you down temporarily to get into the habit of using them. However, with repetition you’ll get faster and save time over all.
Save Work Periodically
While you are working, stop to save your work periodically. This could save you from hours of rework if your computer suddenly dies or shuts down.
Templates are commonly available for many programs and apps these days. But if there isn’t one for the app you’re working in you might be able to create your own.
Using templates for your work can speed you up and save valuable time. It may be even keep you from taking work home.
2. Make Boundaries Clear
I love working from home. But I’ve learned over the last couple of years that sometimes I have to set clear boundaries.
For example, occasionally I have clients who try to contact me at all hours of the evening and weekend. Of course there are sometimes unusual circumstances in which I will do client work during off hours. However, as a rule I try to set regular office hours and stick to them.
Make boundaries clear whether that’s setting your hours or simply refusing tons of texts and calls at home. This is another way to prevent work from bleeding into your home life.
3. Avoid Taking Work Projects Home
Another way to keep work from taking away from home life is to avoid taking work projects home. Most of us don’t get enough time with friends and loved ones anyway. Why shorten that time even more by bringing work home with you?
The more often you bring projects, notes, and work laptops home the more you tell others they take second place. You need to make sure your family and spouse know that they hold a high priority in your life.
4. Leave it At the Door
When you care about your job it can be difficult to separate work life from home life. But you need to keep work at work so it doesn’t bleed into your home life.
Spewing angry diatribes at home about work injustices is exactly the opposite. If you want to relax at home you need to leave work problems at work where they belong.
Taking work problems into your personal space is a good way to add stress to your marriage. Creating such a habit can also ruin relationships with other family and friends. Additionally, it can affect your ability to sleep, eat, and do practically anything else.
5. Don’t Respond to Work Messages After Hours
Don’t respond to work messages after hours. Constantly checking for texts and emails turns your phone into a ball and chain. After a while you will begin to feel trapped by work with no way to see the light of day.
Clients, customers, and co-workers can survive without you for a few hours. Get them trained and used to being without you during off work time. The more you do respond to their texts and emails the more often they will abuse your boundaries.
6. Destress Going to and from Work
Everybody knows that work stress is not good for you. It can affect your health as well as family life. Therefore, getting rid of work stress before you get home will have positive results in your life.
Keeping work from bleeding into your home life may be as simple as destressing going to and from work. If you drive to and from work or have a bus or train ride use the time to wind down.
Listen to podcasts or uplifting music, meditate, or rant and rave if you’re alone in a car. Do whatever works best for you to get work out of your system. Then when you walk in the door of your domain you will be more relaxed.
7. Say “No” to Extra Projects
Saying no to extra project is not always easy. It can make you feel guilty and inadequate in the workplace. You may also fear that you will be passed over for promotions in the future as a result.
But the truth is that you shouldn’t feel bad about saying no to taking on extra projects regularly. After all, you are human and need time off just like everyone else.
Only you know your limits and breaking point. Don’t let others push you beyond what you can reasonably achieve.
Saying yes to more projects than you can handle can hurt your career just as much as saying no. It may even be worse. You could get labeled as someone who can’t finish what they start.
Still, you can soften the blow of saying “no” to additional work. Provide alternative solutions to supervisors. Or, offer to help on another project during regular work hours.
8. Start a Hobby
Having a hobby is one method of dealing with work stress to keep it out of your home life. There are several ways to start a hobby.
Obviously if you already have a hobby you enjoy you could just begin again. But starting a new hobby can be just as rewarding. Think about things you like to do or always wanted to learn to do. That will give you direction on choosing the right hobby.
Creative outlets allow you to pour work frustrations into what you make or do. This is how you can keep work from bleeding into your home life.
9. Exercise for Stress Relief
Exercise can prevent work problems from taking over your life at home as well. If you prefer light workouts, try yoga.
Or, if you prefer more difficult exercise you could do crossfit, running, cycling, or any other number of physical activities. The point is to work out your stress and frustration during exercise instead of at home.
10. Confide in a Friend
You can also keep work life out of your personal life by confiding in a friend. However, you need to be mindful of releasing confidential information that could land you in hot water.
If you’re worried that anything you say could get back to the wrong person try confiding in a different way. Tell your pet about your worries and irritations instead. You’ll still feel better but won’t have to worry about information leaking back to the wrong person.
Clearly cell phones are not the only things keeping people constantly tuned in to work issues. But if you want personal health and healthy relationships you need to turn work off.