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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

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Alex Morris

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

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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