With work and home life separation becoming more difficult to parse out than ever, sometimes, it can feel like the workday never ends. Thankfully, there are things you can do both during the day and after which will remind you how to let go of the office and embrace your restorative time off.
1. Timing your work
The first way to begin letting go of your work is to start timing it. Often, you can reach the end of your day and realize that you spent copious amounts of time throughout the day on tasks you didn’t intend to. If you need something nudging you from one thing to the next in order to assure you finish everything you need to do before you clock out, try something like a TimeFlip2, a dice-like item that times your every task. You assign an activity to each side, and an amount of time you’d ideally like to spend on that task, and when the timer goes off, you switch gears.
If you’re just curious to see where all your time goes throughout the day without being too diligent at the moment, you can always utilize Hive’s time management tracking tools to gain some insight and rethink your time management practices. You can add time estimates to certain tasks, record how long they took, and review these entries to see if you get faster or slower over time so that you can see which facets of your job are causing you the most stress.
2. Choosing a mental anchor
If your issue is emotionally letting go at the end of a long day, there are ways to signal to yourself that it’s time for work to end. Often, these small rituals bring you into the present moment and signify a shift in your mindset. In a recent study from Brazil, anthropological researchers found that these “simpatias,” or multi-step, formulaic habits, tend to positively affect the outcomes of emotionally strenuous tasks, like quitting smoking. More effective simpatias had multiple steps, repetition, and were performed at a certain specific time.
These little rituals are meant to relax and ground you, and they can easily be integrated into one’s workday wrap-up. Something as simple as punching a digital time card, taking three deep breaths, or turning out the light and closing your office door at the same time every day can condition you into releasing the tension of the workday and allow you to settle into the evening.
3. Using the right tools
Another reason that you could have trouble leaving the workday behind is that you’re experiencing the kind of burnout that’s preventable. Some people complain of fatigue or feeling too drained from computer over-usage, but rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater and saying that technology is the cause of your workday woes, consider that you could feel overwhelmed because you’ve been working hard rather than smart.
After a day of checking and double-checking deadlines on Slack or requesting access to Google Docs, anyone would feel frazzled. That’s why workflow tools from Hive can help with automating routine tasks to clear away the clutter in your workflow. The less painstaking your day feels, the easier it is to let go of and embrace anew in the day ahead.
4. Creating physical distance
Another way to leave behind the stresses of the workday is to physically leave them behind, crafting a very firm boundary between your work life and your home life. Many accomplish this by simply working from a home office, but for others, it’s entirely possible that you’re working from your kitchen table or a desk in your bedroom. This might cross some wires, and make you feel like you’re working even if you’re just laying in bed or having a family meal.
While the best option is to find somewhere slightly more sequestered to work, another simple way to signal the end of your workday is to leave the room where you usually work and go do something else in a different room. You could make yourself an after-work snack in the kitchen, take a shower in the bathroom, or go sniff some fabric softener in the laundry room. Just make sure that you don’t end your workday by immediately logging onto social media in the same spot you’ve been working in for the past eight hours, or else you’ll still feel like you’re at work.
5. End your day with tomorrow’s to-do list
It’s also possible that you have trouble letting go of your workday because mentally, you’re already thinking about what the next day will hold. This is especially the case if you’ve got a packed day ahead, and though you need rest to ensure that you’ll be fully charged to tackle your many meetings and deadlines, your impending work leaves you unable to relax.
Hive also has an easy and effective way to check out your day in review with the My Day functionality, which serves up your Google or Outlook Calendars on a silver platter by displaying them onto one simple interface next to action items or outstanding projects.
6. Getting some fresh air
Lots of resources say that walking in little bits during your workday is the best way to clear your head, get your blood pumping, and get your neurons firing. But on a busy day or a day with inclement weather, a stroll may not be in the cards, and you might find yourself working inside all day. It can be hard to shift sets when your environment is relatively homeostatic, and even if you try to leave the day behind by starting another non-work activity, it may not be enough to completely feel at ease. So open a window, and let the sunlight in!
Psychologically, fresh air can flip a switch in your mind, allowing you to remember that there’s a whole wide world beyond your monitor. When we’re working in the office, stepping out and taking that first big, deep breath of cool air before the long voyage home begins is a bit of a mental primer that signifies the end of the workday and the beginning of the evening. But working from home eliminates that mental trigger, and as a result, the day and night might feel interwoven. Even if the weather is bad, take a minute and open the window to get a refreshing dose of fresh air – if you have outdoor space, that’s even better, as you can sit outside and enjoy a few moments of reflective solace as you let the workday go.