8 Essential Tips for Creating Balance and Successfully Unplugging From Work
Updated: Feb 1
We all know how important it is to take time away from work and relax. Whether it’s a mental health break or just the need for some downtime, unplugging from work can be essential for your well-being. But when you have deadlines looming or tasks that feel
never-ending, it can be hard to find the motivation to step away and give yourself a break. Fortunately, there are simple strategies you can use to help make unplugging easier so you can enjoy some much-needed R&R without feeling guilty about taking time off. In this blog post, we’ll look at eight ways to unplug from work and relax successfully.
Put your phone on Do Not Disturb and email out of the office or pause.
It's Friday night your brain is mush; you pulled yourself away from the laptop and decided to do something fun and brain-rest-worthy. There's nothing more aggravating than being in you're in the middle of a great novel, movie, or Instagram post, and you get an email or a text message from a client that's not urgent but spirals you out of your zen and activates your tired brain back to thinking about work or planning.
Here's a tip: before you close your laptop and walk away from your desk, put your phone on Do Not Disturb and email on "out of the office." Gmail even allows you to pause your email, sending an outgoing message that you have paused your inbox and preventing the email from hitting your inbox until you have unpaused it. Brilliant for keeping your brain blissfully ignorant of things you can return to when it's relevant and with a refreshed mind.
Hard stop work
Make a commitment to yourself that you won’t spend more than a certain amount of time working each day, and then stick to it! When you know your work day has a limited amount of hours, you start to prioritize better what needs to get done. The reward is ending the day when you say you will, and it keeps you from getting in the weeds on social media to "get you through the day." You'll magically get more focused when you know you're free to do whatever you want after your hard stop.
Limit distractions to focus and get tasks done within a specific timeframe.
Limit distractions so you can focus: If you want to make the most of your working time, then it’s essential to limit any unnecessary distractions that may prevent you from focusing. Turn off notifications and mute any chat windows or social media accounts on your computer so you can focus on the task without getting distracted.
Even work-related chats can have you down a rabbit hole and away from your day's objectives. If you set a time to get back to those chats, you won't spend time going back and forth.
Have focus times in the day.
Have focus times in the day: Designate specific times of the day when you will be focused on working, and then make sure to stick to it! When are you most energetic? When do you typically have the most clarity and focus? When is it most quiet in your environment? Take these into consideration when you're scheduling your focus times. Avoid meetings during this time and try to keep the focus time within 2-4 hour blocks. Take frequent breaks to stand, stretch, or drink water. You may want to try the Pomodoro Technique; this will help you keep your focus. Think of it as HIIT for your brain!
Schedule downtime with accountability.
Schedule downtime with accountability: Find an accountability partner to hold each other accountable for taking regular breaks and unplugging from work. This could be a friend, family member, or even someone in your professional network who understands the importance of taking time away from work to recharge.
You can also schedule that time to be fun. Meet up with a friend for happy hours or a workout class in the evenings or weekends will ensure you have a cap on your day and help you transition to unplugging.
Keep your life simple as possible.
Simplifying your life will help you make more time for relaxation and connecting with yourself. This could mean decluttering your home, minimizing commitments and social engagements, or even limiting the number of emails you check each day.
If you feel like all the items on your agenda are essential and can't be scaled back, you may need to consider how to automate or delegate things. It may not be done just as you would do them, but the end game is for your time to be freer to feed mental and emotional energy so you can be the best you possible.
Delegate what you're not good at or is time-consuming but necessary.
Don’t waste time doing tasks that you aren’t good at or that take a lot of your time. Delegate these tasks to other team members or outsource them if possible.
This delegation can be as simple as ordering healthy pre-made meals to cut back on shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. Order your groceries, hire a cleaning service, or get your laundry picked up, washed and folded, and delivered back to you.
Limit your must-do tasks down to 3 a day.
Focus on the most essential tasks and break them down into smaller, achievable goals. Setting yourself a limit of 3 tasks per day will help you focus your energy and not get overwhelmed by the amount of work that needs to be done.
Remember, taking a break if you need one is okay, and know that making progress on something is better than nothing. Give yourself grace when needed, and know that you continue to work towards your goals with each task completed.
Bonus: Reward yourself
Lastly, reward yourself for all the hard work you have done! You get so much done even when you feel like the task list never ends. Get rid of the guilt of taking a break because you can't work hard on empty.
By following these simple tips, you’ll be able to successfully unplug from work and spend more time relaxing and recharging. Taking regular breaks from work is essential.