How To Switch Off When You Work From Home
So most people who usually work in an office are now working from home (thanks COVID-19), which presents new challenges for some. I’ve been working from home for almost 6 years and I’m so used to it now, but I do recall that I struggled at the beginning. It’s pretty easy to let your work leak into your free time, when the laptop is literally calling you from the living room. I developed some habits that helped me draw a line between my working day and my personal life, even when the physical divide was often only the next room. Here’s my tips for switching off when you work from home…
Write a To Do list for the next day
I am very much a list person. I find once I’m done with work for the day, I can properly switch off when I’ve got everything out of my brain that I need to do the next day. So I go through my inbox, look at my deadlines and write everything down. Once I’ve thought of everything, I can switch out of work mode more easily.
Turn off email notifications (especially on your phone)
The constant pinging of my phone was driving me crazy, so I have taken to muting email and WhatsApp notifications on my phone on the weekend. I don’t do this during the week, because there are some messages that I need to address when they come in, but come Friday night, I’ve logged off.
Use an activity to transition
Go for a run, do a quick meditation, cook dinner or play with the kids. Anything that helps you transitiion from the work desk to home life. My work desk at home is right next to the kitchen so I find it easiest to pop in, grab a snack (or a glass of wine) and start prepping dinner. I plan meals for the next week, so I know exactly what I’m creating every night. Cooking is very much my way of switching off, and I usually also try to do some yoga, pilates or meditation later in the evening. My boys love books, so I also read lots of picture books and storybooks in the evening, which definitely gets you into a different headspace and out of the work mindset.
Music, podcasts and TV
Depending on the work I’m doing, when I’m working from home I’ll often listen to music. But it acts as background noise, and I save the music I want to dance to, or the podcasts I really want to immerse myself in, for the weekend or the evening. At the moment I’m really enjoying podcasts from Brene Brown’s Unlocking Us and How To Fail by Elizabeth Day. Netflix series I’ve loved in recent weeks include Unorthodox, Easy and The Bold Type on Stan.
Wash the day away
A lot of people, mentally as well as physically, wash the day away. We all take on a lot of other people’s emotions through the work day, and it helps to mentally let that go by physically washing it away. Whether it’s soaking in a bath or showering with a special body wash, I find it helps to finalise the work day and I try to do it as soon as possible after finishing work.
Some people thrive working from home, while for others it can be a struggle. Don’t think you’re a failure if you’re struggling right now. Working from home is the new normal at the moment, but it won’t last forever and the social aspects of the office will come back. Something that might help is using Zoom or House Party to catch up with colleagues and friends. Remember – you’re not alone in this.
Yours in digital,