Maintaining work-life balance is a priority for many workers across all industries. At times, it can seem it is easier said than done. With some many employees being connected to their work lives through the smartphones and computers, it can feel like work follows you everywhere.
However, finding the right balance is important. One of the easiest ways to help maintain balance (and your sanity in general) is to simply unplug during your time off. Instead of giving in to the urge to check your email while checking out at the store, or reviewing your calendar before bed, consider shutting it all down after hours.
Why Unplugging is Important
When you bring your work with you wherever you go, you are never really off the clock. You stay in the mindset that the incoming emails and phone calls should be a priority, even when you should be focused on yourself and your family. While maintaining constant contact and availability may seem as though you are more productive, the opposite may be true.
Research suggests that being distracted by email and other messaging systems may functionally lower your IQ. Your judgment may become clouded, and you may switch to a more reactive approach to information. The constant notifications can also make it nearly impossible to focus, which can also lower the quality of your work.
The feeling as though you can’t get away from work also leads to burnout. Instead of being more productive and feeling accomplished, you may find yourself irritable and frustrated. Over time, this can lead you to leave a job simply to get away from the constant feeling of pressure, even if it is self imposed.
How to Unplug for Work-Life Balance
To unplug successfully, you need to set boundaries regarding how and when you will work, and when you won’t. Designate certain days or times when using devices is simply off limits. For example, make dinner time device free, and avoid checking devices within two hours before bed. Give yourself a chance to wind down in the evening, and avoid the negative effects screen light can have on sleep patterns.
If time is set aside for a family activity, don’t let your device ruin that time. Keeping connected to your loved ones will help you survive stressful times when they arise, so take the time necessary to nurture those relationships on a regular basis, and give them your full attention.
Weekends and vacations should also include substantial time away from the constant barrage of email, texts, and other notifications. Try to go without looking at work communications for entire weekends, or the length of a vacation. If you absolutely must check in, limit your availability as much as possible. For example, you may decide that between 9:00 and 10:00 am is ideal for reviewing what has come in. Once that time passes, unplug again.
Even in cases where you must handle issues, don’t feel compelled to manage anything that can wait until the next day at work. Just because an email came in at 6:30 pm doesn’t mean that the answer can’t wait until 8:00 am. Give yourself permission to manage work at work, and leave it there as often as possible.
What If Your Job Won’t Let You Unplug?
Some businesses set an expectation that employees be available 24/7 regardless of the harm. While some people may thrive in that kind of environment, many don’t. If you find yourself unable to get away and are beginning to burn out, it may be time to look for new employment opportunities.
If that is the case, Resolution Technologies is here to help. Contact Resolution today to see what opportunities may be available in your field, and reclaim your right to a balanced life.