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Published on October 11, 2018

How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family

How Not to Let Work Take Priority over Spending Time With Family

In modern life, it’s increasingly difficult to switch off from work. Technology streamlines life and opens up new opportunities but it doesn’t reduce our workloads.

Now, many employees find it difficult to switch off when emails continue to pop up on their smartphone. The knock on effect here is less time spent with family.

How do you stop this trend and embrace some much needed downtime? We’ve got some handy tips for you so you won’t let work take priority over spending time with family:

1. Turn your devices off

The pressure on modern employees is enormous, which makes it tempting to continue working long after your 5pm finish. Of course, most staff aren’t paid for this overtime.

There’s even a new phenomenon called “leavism”. This is where employees take holiday time to catch up on their backlog of work, rather than relax.

Constantly working is a drain on your health. You simply need time off to recover. It’ll make you more effective at work too. So once you get back home, turn your devices off. Get away from work and catch up with your family, indulge in a few hobbies, and relax.

This may prove difficult if you’re used to firing off emails at 11:30 pm. So condition yourself gradually to make this marked shift. It should become part of your routine.

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Over the course of a few weeks, you’ll lapse into more family-friendly activities. It all starts with hitting the off button – or, at the very least, your “do not disturb” feature.

2. Request flexible work time

Changing your work hours can have an enormous effect. You may want to start earlier or later, for instance.

Have a word with your manager to see if this is possible. It can open up new opportunities to ensure you can spend more time with your loved ones.

3. Take a new career route

If it’s not possible for new working hours, then a change of career path could open up new opportunities.

There are endless new opportunities available for you. Actively hunting for new roles can open up a new world for you. After all, many modern businesses are in tune with a sound work life balance. Your next step could lead to a better job, plus more time to spend with your family.

But how do you go about a career change?Here’s a guide for when you have no idea how to change career:

Is It Time for a Career Change? Find Your Answer Here with These Steps

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4. Work remotely

Of course, you could improve your work life balance drastically with a remote worker role. Not every career route is open to this. But if your industry is, then you could request this opportunity with your current employer.

You can check out these 17 Types of Online Work at Home Jobs that Really Pay Off.

5. Relax before heading home

Arriving home from work feeling stressed out and unhappy can only have negative results on your family. As such, relax properly before you return home.

Take a trip to the gym, for instance, or take a walk around your local area. Do some shopping. Pick up a book you want to read. Buy a present for the kids.

Effectively switching off before you get back can turn your mind off from work. The result is quality time with your family, rather than downtime sabotaged through work stresses.

6. Make Friday a special night

For many employees, Friday night signals the end of the week. It’s a date to look forward to and cherish. So turn it into an ultra-special occasion — one that you can look forward to throughout the week.

If you add several relaxation activities to your calendar each week, make sure Friday night is a priority. It’s a chance to celebrate the weekend. And you can start that off with some family activities — a film night, for example, or a meal out. That sets the scene for your weekend.

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7. Talk about something other than work

If your life revolves around work and you struggle to have conversations about anything other than work, then you can broaden your conversational horizons.

I’m not on about gossiping of course, but little instances that can shift talk away from something other than what’s going on at the office.

You can make steps in your professional life to network with people beyond asking about their work. Talk to your colleagues about their family life, for example, to find common ground. Try these tips on How to Talk to People When You Have Nothing to Say to add more meaning to your conversations at work.

8. Reduce your stress levels

Stress has an adverse affect on anyone. Over time, it can sap your morale and leave you feel negative. Combatting it with positive activities can ensure your time off with your family is properly spent.

Yoga is one such example but there are plenty of other options. Just take a look at these 8 simple relaxation techniques to help reduce stress.

As you’d expect, there are also plenty of calming apps to help you along. Headspace is a lea ding example – check out the video below. It’s free and offers tips on meditation to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress. Or there’s Calm , which offers meditative sound effects and sleep stories. Also, it’s free!

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9. View busyness as bad

It’s something of an intellectual pursuit in modern business. Prove to others you can hack an enormous workload. This is an outlook championed by the likes of Elon Musk. We all see it in the news as defining what “success” is.

But no matter how brilliant you are, rest is essential. In fact, if you’re overburdened with work, then your productivity will drop. Your mental health will also take a battering.

There’s a school of thought that also suggests busyness is bad for business.[1] In fact, there’s now a backlash against it. In Scientific American’s article Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime,[2] it’s argued:

“Throughout history people have intuited that such puritanical devotion to perpetual busyness does not in fact translate to greater productivity and is not particularly healthy. What if the brain requires substantial downtime to remain industrious and generate its most innovative ideas?

Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self. most innovative ideas?”

10. And finally… have more fun

Focus on making sure fun becomes an integral part of your life. Instead of becoming bogged down in stress and work commitments, find new opportunities to focus on.

You can start by taking a look at making parenting easier. This can ease the pressures you face alongside your job. If you’re bossing parenting, then you’ll also head into work feeling confident and ready to take on your latest projects.

But you can also advance your relationships with fun family activities. As mentioned above, you can turn your focus towards making weekends as fun as possible. This list of 53 fun things for the weekend is another step in the right direction.

Featured photo credit: Derek Owens via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: Is Busyness Bad for Business?
[2] Scientific American: Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime

More by this author

Alex Morris

Creative Writer, Copywriter, & Journalist for Business, Culture, Lifestyle, & Work

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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