Work is such a massive part of our lives, and when it’s particularly stressful, it can be hard to leave it behind at the end of the day and not let it spill over into our personal lives. Throw into the mix more of us working from home, where the boundary between career and home life becomes even more blurred, and it’s no surprise that it’s hard to let go at the end of the workday!
Many of us adopt a routine to gear up for the start of our workday, such as setting the alarm, getting our clothes ready the night before, and setting off at the same time every morning. But I don’t think many of us look at our rituals at the END of the workday, which can help us conclude our day positively and transition into home mode.
In this blog, I’d like to show you seven ways to let go at the end of the workday. I hope you learn some new tactics to try, so you can carve out a better work-life balance.
1. Prepare for tomorrow
Whether you’re working from home or in an office, before you put your computer to sleep, take a few minutes to review your schedule for the next day. What meetings do you have? What must you accomplish before the close of play tomorrow?
This can help to get that ‘noise’ out of your head, so you don’t have to take it all home with you. It also enables you to write a focussed to-do list, so you can truly switch off knowing you’re prepared for what tomorrow has in store.
I believe this is one of the single most productive things you can do with the last ten to fifteen minutes of your workday. So, give it a try. You should find you come away feeling more relaxed, more in control and ready to focus on your evening at home.
2. Tidy up
Imagine walking into a workspace covered in paperwork, with a mouldy teacup festering in the corner. How does that make you feel? Ready to start the day on a high? I don’t think so!
Before you end your workday, take a few minutes to straighten up your desk or workstation. Then when you arrive in the morning, your head and heart are ready to jump straight in and show the day who’s boss!
3. End your day on a positive note
Have you ever noticed how you can be having a wonderful day, then an email arrives with a complaint or a piece of work you dread doing, and your cheerful disposition vanishes? That feeling can linger and easily bleed into our personal lives too.
Try to end your day on a positive note of completion. This could be sending an email, signing a document or making a phone call. There’s gratification in knowing you’ve ticked one last thing off your to-do list. These small wins can seriously enhance our mood!
4. Mark the end of the working day
Create a specific action that signifies the end of the working day for you. This could be phoning home to say you’re on your way, switching off your computer, locking your office door or doing ten star jumps in your home office! It can be whatever YOU want.
This small action or ritual can act as an anchor to help you take charge of your feelings and shift your mental state from work to home.
5. Set the tone for your evening
When someone asks us how our day was, we tend to dwell on our residual negative emotions. So, to create a more positive atmosphere for EVERYONE, start your evening by asking what good or exciting things happened to them at school, work or home. Then you can all have a connecting conversation about it.
When they reciprocate and ask you about your day, avoid a lengthy explanation of what you’ve been up to. Instead, pick one of two positive events to discuss.
6. Switch off… literally!
We all need downtime to process the day’s events, get restorative sleep and prepare ourselves for tomorrow. This isn’t possible if we’re constantly checking our emails or responding to out-of-hours calls.
We need to switch off… literally! Switch your computer off! Don’t be tempted to check emails! Let any calls you know can wait until tomorrow go through to voicemail!
You deserve to spend uninterrupted time by yourself or with your friends and family.
Find something to do every evening that you enjoy and find relaxing. This could be playing a game with your children, having a bath, reading a book, watching tv or socialising with friends.
Just be conscious of your exposure to blue light (the light emitted from our phones, e-readers and computers) as you approach bedtime. Too much blue light in the hour or two before bed can negatively impact the quality of our sleep. You can find out more about how blue light affects sleep in this article from the Sleep Foundation.
Would you like more tips to help you let go at the end of the workday?
To find out more about how I can support you in the workplace, please contact me to arrange a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation.