Because it isn’t as easy as just switching off your phone
We’re all guilty of checking our work emails after hours, sending off one last text message after 5PM, or spending time on the weekend working on a project for the office. But spending so much time on work isn’t great for our mental health, emotional wellbeing, or our relationships with friends and family, and actually unplugging from work is harder than it sounds. If you find that work seems to invade your evenings and weekends, it might be time to try a new approach to unplugging.
- Schedule in relaxation time
It mightn’t seem like the most fun idea, but actually scheduling in your relaxation — the same way you’d schedule in an important meeting or conference call — gives you a time when you’re actually supposed to be relaxing. Whether that’s going to the gym, a dinner date with your partner, or spending time with your family, actually inputting this into your calendar or diary makes you more likely to stick to it.
- Find a low-tech hobby
If all your hobbies involve screens, you’ll probably find yourself distractedly checking your work inbox when you’re meant to be relaxing. Try to find a hobby that requires no technology — something like cooking, yoga, gardening, or painting will both stimulate your creativity and keep you far away from the temptation of checking your emails.
- Distinguish what is actually “urgent”
Unless an email or a message is actually urgent — as in, it demands an immediate and rapid response — it’s fine to leave it for a few hours if you’re not meant to be working. We all feel pressure to respond to emails outside of work hours, but all that does is make people think you’re always available, which really shouldn’t be the case. There’s no harm in ignoring an email from a colleague until actual working hours — it will probably help your coworker unplug, too, if they’re working on the weekend.