How many of us arrive home after a busy, exhausting day feeling fit for nothing, perhaps short-tempered, with no energy, barely able to keep our eyes open throughout the early evening news or soap operas on TV? We may have unfinished work playing on our minds, worries about a business situation, or an unresolved issue with a colleague or customer.
After a busy, stressful day it can be hard to leave the assorted demands, responsibilities and cares of work behind. But it’s important to finish work and go home feeling well, ready to enjoy that part of the day with enthusiasm. After a day’s work we still need to have enough time and energy to enjoy spending a quality hour or two with the people who motivate us to work so hard, our partner, children and maybe friends.
Let’s look at some good habits we can set in place so that we can draw a line, finish work and go home feeling well more often.
Many of us will spend some, if not all of our working days in our office at home. If you do work from home, be sure to either screen off your workstation or close your office door at the end of each day. Change your clothes and go outside for a twenty-minute break. As there’s no drive home where you can unwind or switch off, instead define the end of your working day with a meaningful ritual or habit, like putting your working jacket on the back of the chair, closing your laptop or putting your coffee mug in the dishwasher. All things that say, ‘that’s it for today!’
Turn off your technology. Some people have a separate phone for work. If that’s you, commit to turn it off and finish work until the following day, unless there’s a crisis or emergency situation. Have set times for checking online and pay attention to how much you benefit from a more time-efficient way of managing your technology and workload.
Use lists. They’re a great way of keeping control, monitoring where you’re up to and reminding yourself of how much you’ve accomplished. Maybe add to your list those unexpected items that are bound to crop up and need dealing with. It’s easy to forget how much you actually do. Use lists to prioritise or to break down big or complicated jobs into manageable segments.
Take breaks throughout the day. They provide thinking time and are a great way to
manage stress. Use breaks to disconnect for a little while. You could go for a quick walk outside, have a glass of water, a healthy snack like a piece of fruit. Breaks also ensure that you pace yourself throughout the day.
Ask for help. There’s no merit in tackling an increasing number of tasks simply because you’ve been asked or become the ‘go to guy’, or in agreeing to do things you’re unsure of or unfamiliar with. You need to ask for help. You may need to delegate, get some guidance or even receive additional training in aspects of the business.
Take the pressure off yourself, share the load and find ways to manage stress effectively.
Draw a line under your working day by using travelling time to listen to music, an interesting talk or to catch up on that phone call with a friend. Plan to call at the gym after work and go for a swim or a workout. You could arrange to meet your partner or friends for a game of tennis, walk or meet for a chat over coffee, but use that time to separate the different areas of your life.
Change your clothes. Most of us have either a uniform or more formal clothes that we use for work. Going home feeling well can include shedding your work persona or image and having more relaxed off-duty attire. Take a shower to symbolically wash away the days’ cares and stresses.
By adopting a few simple habits you can ensure that you better manage stress and finish work feeling well more often, able to really enjoy and appreciate the different areas of your life.