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Can’t Turn Off Work Mode On The Weekend? Research Says Your Personality Matters

Can’t Turn Off Work Mode On The Weekend? Research Says Your Personality Matters

In today’s society, work is becoming a seven-day-a-week proposition. Mobile technology is blurring the lines between work and leisure. Working on weekends has become the new normal. People are compelled to spend their off time working in order to stay on top of their work, catch up on items from the previous week or get a head start on the next week’s tasks.

Business Insider Executive Editor Joe Weisenthal recently wrote an article about this inability an alarming amount of people have to unplug. He believes that two days of weekend is too much for many people:

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 “It seems that totally disconnecting for two days is too excruciating for a lot of people, so that by Sunday morning they’re eager to start getting back into the swing of things.”

In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 35 percent of employed Americans work at least one day on the weekend.

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Bureau of Labor Statistics

    Decades of research continue to support the notion that the current 40-hour workweek is indeed, the sweet spot. It further shows that working overtime and weekends can lead to serious negative effects on health (mental and physical), relationships, and overall productivity. Over time, working long hours can increase your risk of depression, heart attack, and heart disease.

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    Some people are more susceptible to working weekends than others

    Why is it that some people have no problem unplugging on weekends and return to work Monday morning disturbingly bright, chipper and well rested? While others drag in from a weekend of working looking, tired, haggard and sometimes physically ill?

    Research suggests that your ability to unplug is tied to your personality–specifically your tendency towards optimistic or pessimistic thinking.

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    Jennifer Ragsdale, a psychologist at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, conducted a study to examine the three-way interactions between weekend activities (low-effort and work-related) and both positive trait affectivity or PA (positive outlook, cheerfulness and enthusiasm) and negative trait affectivity–NA (Anger, disgust, fear and frustration) on the ability for people to recover from work week stressors. The study found that– generally speaking, positive affectivity (and negative affectivity) greatly influence one’s opinions and decisions and dictates how they respond to and handle stress. A brain with a tendency towards NA will struggle with the ability to detach, relax and experience a sense of mastery.

    People with a higher NA tend to be more easily overwhelmed, prone to anxiety and are unable to relieve stress at work. They have the tendency to work on weekends and – even worse – while on vacation. Scores of individuals are under the false illusion that if they work at home, on nights and weekends, they can reduce stress at work and stay ahead of the curve. Studies show that the opposite is actually true. For people with higher NA more work equates to more stress and more negative thoughts and feelings.

    Workaholic I
      Photo Credit: LaurMG. on Flickr

      Learning how to relieve stress at work is key to taking a break

      First, try to identify your primary stressors. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work? Is the work labor intensive and time sensitive? If so, working on time management and learning how to allocate your time during each day may be key to accomplishing your tasks in a timely manner while still preserving your free time. Attacking your primary stressors by having a plan and being proactive can assist in counteracting your brain’s natural NA tendencies.

      Another major key in ending the cycle of never ending work is to understand that you are more productive when you take periodic breaks. Research is definitively on this point. Your brain needs to completely disengage from work related activity periodically. It will reduce your stress and make you better in all areas of your life.

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      Denise Hill

      Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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      Last Updated on December 10, 2019

      5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

      5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

      Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

      Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

      But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

      Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

      But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

      Journal writing.

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      Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

      Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

      Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

      1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

      By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

      Consider this:

      Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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      But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

      The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

      2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

      If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

      How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

      Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

      You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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      3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

      As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

      Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

      All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

      4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

      Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

      Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

      The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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      5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

      The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

      It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

      Kickstart Journaling

      How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

      Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

      Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

      Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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