Office space at night

It’s not always easy to leave work and come home without it weighing on your mind, just ask a senior manager of a New York design studio, Chris, about it. He’s constantly thinking about the enormous workload he’s got left at the office while laying in bed at night. He is only one of many individuals who are unable to “check out” of work and go home.

A study conducted on workers’ performance spanning seven years determined that the inability to balance personal and professional time was one of the most top ten stressful things that people felt they were unable to properly handle. A large part of this can be traced to technology since it keeps everyone connected no matter what time it is or where they are. The question presents itself as to how an individual can leave work where it belongs and have a less stressful more pleasurable experience while at home?

The key lies in creating a barrier between the two worlds in the mind. The following strategies were found to increase the effectiveness of separating the two worlds from 40 percent to 68 percent among 26 different managers.

These five things should be done before leaving the office to reduce stress and help manage the work-life conflict:

Clean up your work area – Put things away to signify an end to the day. Organize your work for the next day so you can have a fresh start when you arrive. A tidy work area equates to a clean mind.
Make a to-do list – Create a list of things that you need to do either electronically or by hand. List them in order of importance to put what is in your mind on paper. This is one of the top three ways to improve performance and reduce stress
Finish a task – Complete your day by finishing up a final task. This can be sending a final email, following up with a client on a phone call, or reviewing a document that has been sitting on your desk. This allows you to leave work knowing that you accomplished something and gives you one less thing to come back to in the morning.
Create an end-of-work action – Do something that tells your mind you’re not allowed to think about work. This can be clocked out, walking out the door, or shutting down your computer. A set action indicating the end of the day creates a more concrete shift from work to home.
Keep it positive – Ask friends and family to share a positive fact about their day, instead of the standard of “how was your day,” which leaves the door to negativity open. Try to think about your positive experiences and leave the stress of the day where it belongs.

These strategies take only a few minutes a day but have potential to change your mindset. These tips are not necessarily new, but they are effective if employed properly in the right environment. Implementing these will allow you to have a better work-life balance with a focus on the positive instead of negative.


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