Do we have time for things outside of work? Is it possible that we think that disconnecting from work is bad or even dangerous? Our society lives immersed in working hours, responsibilities and working new opportunities. We constantly focus on this area while the rest of the areas in our lives remain unattended.
Live to work or work to live?
Additionally, working from home provokes that the line between life and work is more and more blurred. Statista shows the percentage of people working remotely in Spain rose from 4.8% in 2019 to 16.2% in 2020, a number almost 4 times bigger.
How to disconnect from work when working from home. Is it healthy to stop working?
Our society can potentially think that wanting to disconnect from work or having a life beyond labor duties are laziness indicators, as explained by the The Guardian.
However, as mentioned in the Official Psychology School from Madrid, disconnecting from work is essential to personal and professional wellbeing. This can prevent exhaustion and increase employee commitment towards the project they are working on.
7 Tips for work disconnection
1. Establish some limits in your schedule
Try to establish concrete starting and ending times for your work. Plan your breaks and eating times before you start working. Even if having a flexible schedule can have some benefits, it is important to establish and respect break times in your routine to care for your wellbeing.
2. Learn to set up priorities
It is normal to have several pending tasks in almost any work environment, but where do we start? Do you know how to differentiate between important and urgent tasks? The famous Eisenhower Matrix can help us out. First, elaborate a list with all your pending tasks, then classify them:
- Urgent important: absolute priority.
- Urgent but not important: can you delegate it?
- Important but not urgent: look for the appropriate timing in your agenda, plan it for later.
- Nor urgent nor important: do you really have to do this? Leave it for last.
3. Turn off notifications
We live surrounded by distractions and something that we always have with us, our mobile phone, might be the origin of many of them. In the World Economic Forum a study is explained: they found that ¾ of office employees checked their emails during evenings and weekends, outside their working hours. However, the good news is that this is something we can control.
- Firstly, turn off social media notifications while working so that you can focus appropriately.
- Secondly, try to have separate devices or spaces in your mobile phone. If you are not on your working hours previously established in the first tip, it is not the right time to read or answer job related issues.
4. Plan enjoyable activities
If we live to work, we might forget that our time can be spent on many activities. How long has it been since you last saw that special person? When was the last time you hiked up that mountain? Would you like to spend more time reading or exercising?
Activities that bring us pleasure would go inside the “important” category previously described in tip #2. Devoting some time to ourselves has a very positive impact on our wellbeing, and quality rest from our work routine encourages us to return to our duties with much more motivation and in a more productive way.
5. Develop other abilities
So, what is the best way to improve in our job? We tend to think of specializing more or developing technical abilities, but soft skills are also of utmost importance, as they remind us in this Guide to Disconnect from work and prevent Burnout.
Some examples to train this are: an appropriate emotional management, a greater leadership capacity or better decision taking.
6. If you work from home...
As they explain to us from the journal ABC News, we do have the right to disconnect, but our culture forces us to be constantly reachable and this has increased the pressure on us and makes it much more complicated.
Working from home can make disconnecting even more difficult, as we have to have everything in one space: our rest, productivity, social relationships… To be able to disconnect, even when you share this space, we recommend:
- Follow previous tips.
- Use one space just to work. If you do not have the possibility to assign a completely different room for job related issues, at least assign a desk just to work. You should not do anything besides work at this desk.
- Get ready and get dressed as if you were actually going to the office. Go back to your most comfortable clothes when you finish working. This is another way of separating work from home, responsibilities and rest.
7. Contact a professional team
Contacting professionals can provide you with a personalised and on-time solution, before reaching more complex issues such as stress, anxiety or burnout. Psychologists can help you find the balance between your personal life and your work before it is too late.
In Wemby we make an initial assessment, later we contact the appropriate professional for each user and develop a tailored plan. This process is revised constantly and when it finishes we offer analytics and a final report of our job.
About the Author
Hi! I’m Laura Lillo, a forensic and clinical psychologist. I strongly believe that psychology services should be accessible to all. I’ve worked in prisons and with kids with risks of social exclusion. This has taught me the importance of constant learning and improvement as a person and as a therapist.
If I’m not cooking, drawing or singing, the most likely scenario is that I’m playing board games. Right now, I’m busy learning and writing content for Wemby, an online psychology platform. During my weekends I’m Game Master in Exit Madrid, a escape rooms company.