Six ways to switch from work zone to personal time

Do you find it hard to switch off after a long day at work? You are not alone. Here are six ways to help you make the switch from work zone to personal time.

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Do you find it hard to switch off after a long day at work? You are not alone. The mind can churn over the emotional responses and physical reactions experienced during the day. The result is that you don’t fully relax as work issues continue to dominate your thinking.

Over time this cycle of ‘live-relive-repeat’ is exhausting. It can also affect personal relationships as friends and family are left wondering if you are there for them.

Fortunately, there are steps you can take which can help you make the switch from work zone to personal time.

Here are six ideas to try:

  1. Notice and investigate intrusive thoughts rather than fight them. Taking a calm and dispassionate approach empowers you to decide if you want to spend time ruminating or choose to direct your focus elsewhere.

  2. Keep a notebook handy. Make it paper rather than digital as the simple act of writing down what’s going on in your head can feel amazingly liberating.

  3. Think of switching on rather than switching off. Make it a conscious decision and commit to family and personal time. A useful technique is to choose a point in your commute home where you flip the switch from work to own time. If you work from home, decide when you are going to pack up and switch to doing something for yourself. For example that might be going for a jog, doing an online exercise class, listening to your favourite music or sitting down to read a book. Set an alarm on your device and/or book the time in your calendar so that you receive a reminder. 

  4. Go for a walk, preferably somewhere green. Find a spot where you can stop and look around you. Notice your surroundings and breath. The physical exercise will refresh you, and the deliberate focus on nature will help you gain perspective.

  5. Choose how you review your day. Take a disciplined approach by allowing 5 minutes to answer the question: ‘what have I learned today?’ Note your answer and then spend another 5 minutes on the question ‘given what I now know, what will I do differently tomorrow?’ Write down your response then bring this self-reflective practise to a close knowing you have an actionable outcome.

  6. Protect personal time by closing devices and keep them out of range. Now enjoy being fully present in the company of friends and family. Rediscover the art of conversation. Be curious and ask questions. Then show engagement and respect by listening to their responses.

Remember that time is your scarcest commodity. There are only two time-zones: work time and personal time. Excessive focus on work issues gets funded by stealing from your own time. Consider the cost and if you don’t like the answer, act today to redress the balance.

Beverly Landais PCC

Certified Personal & Team Coach: enabling people to be at their resourceful best ,

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