Work is such an integral part of our lives. If you’re working a 40-hour week, that’s nearly a quarter of your life spent just working. That is a significant portion of your life, for better or worse. As important as work is, it’s not typically our first choice of activity each day. The activities we really want to pursue, such as hobbies, entertainment, and time with family, tend to take a backseat when work is concerned.
The challenge is figuring out how to disconnect from work long enough to make time for these things. This article focuses on the use of an online calendar to disconnect from work. With this simple tool, you can maximize your time at work and maximize your time away from it. Better life balance awaits you as you learn to harness your time in the following ways:
Take Breaks Throughout the Day
One of the leading causes of burnout, if not the highest, is being overworked. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. More hours equals more effort and exertion, both physically and mentally. You’ll beg for a vacation after a long week of work, let alone several of them strung together.
You deserve to be taking breaks throughout your busy days. A short break can extend your focus and energy throughout the day, reducing the symptoms of burnout. If you do physical labor, proper breaks can also help you to avoid injury which would prevent you from continuing to work effectively.
There are more optimal ways to take breaks than just leaning back whenever you feel tired. For example, try a time management technique like the Pomodoro Method. With this approach, you set a timer for getting to work broken up by intervals of short breaks. Your work time becomes more productive, and your break time becomes more meaningful.
Front Load Your Week
It’s no secret that the end of the workweek is more challenging to push through than the beginning. The allure of the weekend plus the toll of dozens of hours on the clock will have you thinking of home much more than thinking of the office. To work around this end-of-week slump, you can try front-loading tasks at the beginning of your week.
To front-load your work week, schedule your most significant and most difficult tasks for the first couple of days. While your motivation is at its highest, you can tackle these challenges head-on and more effectively. As the week winds down, you can relax by finishing up with the more menial tasks on your plate.
Front loading your workload may also enable you to shorten your work week. If you get all the most important things done early, you can opt to work from home on Friday or leave the office a little earlier than usual. You’ll still be completing all your required tasks while getting extra time to disconnect from work.
Block Out Your Calendar
Saying no can be a very difficult thing to do, especially when relationships are involved. When it comes to work-life balance, you have two different sides to worry about. Obviously, you want strong relationships with your friends and family, but you also want your professional relationships to be in good standing.
If the ultimate goal here is to disconnect from work, you can block out periods specifically for spending time with family. Once a section of time has been effectively blocked, don’t budge from it unless a true emergency presents itself.
When you create time blocks in your calendar for personal and family time, do so in a shared calendar. This way, managers, clients, and coworkers can see when you have plans made. This can also enforce a personal rule to not take work home with you. If your calendar is booked out once you’re off the clock, you won’t be so easily sucked back in.
Share Events With Family
One of the many wonderful features of an online calendar is how easily everything can be shared. You can share your entire calendar with your significant other or share single events with affiliated parties. This can help you manage your work-life balance by making more people aware of your current obligations.
For example, you can share the calendar event for your work gathering with your spouse or partner. This way, they will know that you commit to that day in advance. With this knowledge, they can better plan their next date night or family outing.
From the other perspective, your family can also share their events with you. Remembering the dates of every dance recital, sporting event, and dentist appointment is understandably tricky. With the help of your kids and your significant other, your calendar can be updated to make time for these events. This way, you won’t inadvertently overbook yourself, causing you to miss valuable memories with your family.
Fall into a Routine
People are creatures of habit, whether they know it or not. There’s a lot of comfort to be found in a routine. It helps you feel more comfortable and in control, even when the world around you feels extra chaotic.
Following a routine can help you disconnect from work and stay disconnected when possible. In particular, routines you follow after work can help you to disassociate immediately. For instance, an afternoon run after you clock out can instantly shift your mindset from being in the office to being out in nature. If this is a daily habit, you can even start to look forward to it at the end of your shifts.
Nighttime routines are great for unwinding after a long day on the job. Your go-to solution might be anything from a cup of tea with your favorite Netflix show to a warm bubble bath right before bed. These evening routines can help you sleep better and help you enjoy your time away from work rather than stressing about the upcoming day.
Use Your Time Off
The number of people you will hear talk about their stockpiled vacation hours is astounding. These hours are meant to be used. Even if you don’t take a luxurious beach vacation, some time off can really help you feel refreshed.
If you’re having a rough work week, consider using some of your accrued time off to take a mental health day. Don’t check in on work and focus entirely on yourself. This will allow you to catch your breath and regain your bearings.
If you plan on taking time off, get it approved first. Disappearing without making proper arrangements is unfair to your employer or team. If your company is not treating you fairly, you don’t want to burn any bridges preemptively. Start applying for new positions with organizations that are more accommodating to your needs.
Looking for ways to stay engaged and motivated at work is still essential. However, it’s equally important to enjoy your time off the clock. You will better manage your mental and physical health by disconnecting from work at the appropriate times. Additionally, doing this may help you be even more connected to work during the hours you are there. The best of both worlds await you.
Featured Image Credit: Eli Sommer; Pexels; Thank you!
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