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7 Tips On Turning Off Work Mode When You’re Not At Work

7 Tips On Turning Off Work Mode When You’re Not At Work

Technology is great at keeping you connected to anything and everything in your life—except when it keeps you connected to the office. You can get in touch with your co-workers or access office files 24 hours a day, which can be detrimental to your social and family lives. Thankfully, there are some simple tips to help you untether yourself and make sure you’re turning off work mode when you’re not at work. Here are seven of them:

1. Don’t bring work home with you.

It sounds simple, but it’s often the hardest thing to do. Don’t bring home that file you didn’t get to at the office. You might think you’ll just glance over it, but in reality you’ll get sucked back into work mode while on family time. “One minute” turns into “I’m almost done!” and before you know it, your evening is shot. If you can’t tackle your entire workload at the office, let those remaining tasks roll over on tomorrow’s “To Do” list.

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2. Say, “No,” to after hours work commitments.

If your boss comes by at 4:45pm and asks you to stay late, don’t be afraid to say, “No.” You might feel like you’re letting down the team or putting your job on the line, but even the sternest boss knows that your family comes first. Don’t be seen as a pushover, or you’ll never have any free time again! Likewise, don’t feel pressured to go out for drinks at quittin’ time, or show your face at a birthday party for a co-worker whose name you don’t remember.

3. Schedule activities for quitting time.

Is there a gym membership burning a hole in your wallet? Use it! Go at 5pm every day. This will help you keep your New Year’s resolution of getting in shape, as well as ensuring you leave the office on time every day. Clock out on time to be sure you get to the post office before it closes, or to buy your groceries before late in the evening.

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4. Stay off of your computer.

Even if you enjoy spending your free time on the computer or surfing the web, it’s too easy to slip back into work mode once you find yourself sitting at a desk in front of a screen again. If you must get online after work hours, try to keep a list of things you need to look up or accomplish and stick to it. This will keep you from “accidentally” going back to work, but it will also prevent you from wasting your entire evening hopping from link to link.

5. Put down the cell phone and back away!

This is, without a doubt, going to be the hardest to accomplish. Your cell phone is your lifeline, with your phone contacts, calendar, To Do lists, and more. You might like to unwind at night by playing games on your phone, or exploring apps. However, your cell phone also has access to your email and work contacts. You might think you’ll just check to see if a reply has come through to your important email, or that you’ll call a co-worker just to chat. But it’s too easy to slip back into work mode this way. Try to put your phone away as soon as you get home from work, and forget about it until the next morning.

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6. Find something you like to do.

If you know you’re going to have a lot of trouble staying away from your phone and computer, find a new hobby you’ll enjoy. Having something non-technological to do in your free time will make it easier to stay away from work. Or is there an old hobby you haven’t had time for lately? Do you miss knitting blankets for your nieces and nephews? Baking is a relaxing hobby that gives you gifts to share with others. Maybe you used to read several books a month—why not go by the library and pick up some new titles?

7. Spend more time with your family.

Last but certainly not least: spend time with your loved ones! All of these tips leave you free to do so. Leave work on time and get your errands out of the way. Step back from your phone and computer. Once you get home, be completely available to your family. Cook dinner together and then sit down at the table to share your days. Find a hobby adults and children can have fun with. Have family movie nights complete with popcorn and candy. Once you distance yourself from your work life, you’ll have countless ideas of activities to do with your family—and plenty of time to do it!

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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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