Sadly, leaving the office doesn't always mean the office has left us. In fact, we’re sometimes so entirely caught up with our working lives that the first thing we do when we step foot through the front door is talk about work, then we spend the rest of the night thinking about work. Oh, and come the next morning? Yep, you guessed it; we’re toddling off back to work.
Even if you love your job (and if you don't, you need to talk to us), you shouldn't live and breathe work every second of the livelong day ― you know what they say about all work and no play.
Ok, so it’s perfectly natural to give some thought to what’s happening in the office (it takes up a pretty enormous part of your life after all), and if you have deadlines to meet or there’s problems going down, it can be really hard to detach yourself completely; but when your wellbeing, relationships and even performance at work stand to suffer from an inability to give yourself a bit of respite, it’s time to take action. Serious action. No, we’re not talking about up and leaving; you just need a bit of guidance in the subtle art of switching off.
Limit your rants
We love a good rant. Of course we do; we’re British. We like to moan and then not really do anything about it; but at least we got it off our chests and we feel that bit better about it. So we would never deny you that wonderful right ― but when it comes to ranting about work, get it over with. And quickly. Call a friend on your way out of the door, then make a promise to yourself not to talk about work again for the rest of the evening.
Start the night right
Ok, so we can’t make the housework magically disappear, but we can offer you a word of advice: do something fun first. Whether you unwind in a delicious bubble bath or read a few chapters of the book you’ve been meaning to read for months (you know the one), take half an hour to relax. You’ll be amazed at the effect it has on your mood.
Your glass is half full. No really, it is
Ever notice how you remember (and believe) an insult far more easily than a compliment? That’s because we’re so programmed to focus on the bad stuff, that the good stuff gets lost in a big old sea of negativity; and that’s why we tend to focus on what went wrong with our day, instead of what went right. To help you with that deep and illusive quest to positivity, make a list of everything that made you feel good during the day; whether it’s professional praise or simply a smile from a stranger. It'll help you to focus on something other than those work-time niggles.
If you're socialising with colleagues, leave office chat at the door
There's no denying that having friends at work makes everything much less like hard work, but if you regularly socialise with them out of hours ― or during your lunch ― it can be all too tempting to find yourself talking about everything from workplace worries to what you think of your new boss. The trouble with that is, once again, you're not leaving the office behind when you should be making the most of some much deserved 'me time'. So make a new rule: thou shalt not discuss work out of the office. And make sure everyone takes the oath before you hit the pub.
Don't take your work home with you
Ok, so this is sometimes easier said than done when you've got a deadline to meet or a big project is going down, but as a general rule, you should always try to avoid taking work home with you. Because checking your emails at home or taking paperwork out of the office is the surest way of blurring the lines between your professional and personal life.
Ultimately, it's going to be pretty difficult to perform at your peak if you're bogged down with work every hour of the day. When you're away from the office, try to take your mind somewhere else entirely ― preferably somewhere relaxing or delightfully exciting ― so that when you come back, you're refreshed and raring to go.
Download our guide to swtiching off