How to stop thinking about work when you’re at home. Why is it so hard to switch off? To just stop thinking about work.
Being able to switch off and stop thinking about work is so critical for your mind. Yet so many of us struggle with this. We find ourselves thinking about the office at home or thinking about the office on vacation.
You can feel your mind wandering off. You’re finished work and you’re trying to relax, but your mind keeps wandering off to go over everything that still needs to be done. Stressing about work.
I used to really struggle with this. Whenever I had a day off with my children my mind would constantly be on work. I’d be checking emails on my phone, thinking about work and constantly telling my children; just a second, I just have to do this. I really didn’t like it. I felt bad. I didn’t like that I couldn’t give my children the attention I wanted to. And I hated the feeling of being torn in two.
I actually found it really tiring and I didn’t like that I would snap at my children because they were interrupting what I felt I ‘had to do’. I didn’t like the person I was becoming. I just wanted to give them my full attention, knowing that these were special times we were having together.
I felt that my work life balance was out of sink, but what I actually realised was that it was me that was not focusing. I was living with half my mind in one world and half in the other.
And I’m not alone. So many of my clients tell me they feel this way. That they don’t know how to stop thinking about work. That they want to be there for their children, to be fully present and to have fun, but their mind keeps going back to work.
So what can you do to make sure your personal time is just that, personal?
Follow these 5 simple steps.
- Make a commitment to yourself. Ask yourself:
What is it you want to feel instead of what you feel now? Why do you want this? Why is this a priority for you? What will happen if you don’t make a change? What will happen if you do make a change?
By asking these questions you can get clear on why it is important to you. Once you realise the why behind wanting this, make a commitment to making this change.
- Set your day up properly.
You need to start your day right. And that means taking a bit of time for yourself before everyone else needs you and deciding what you want from the day. How are you going to show up, where are your priorities, how will you react to changes in the day. What do you expect from yourself and how do you want to feel as the day progresses. If you don’t do this, you start with a busy head. You need to clear your head so you are crystal clear on what you want.
Get up before everyone else and take even 10minutes for yourself.
- Remove your work email from your phone.
It may sound quite basic, but if we are all working from home, is there really a need for your work email to be on your phone? Having your email on your phone makes it far too easy to just ‘quickly read an email’ and then before you know it you are being dragged into work.
- Schedule your top work priorities.
The day before I have a day off with my children I go through my main weekly priorities and make sure they are scheduled in my calendar. This way I know everything is accounted for. I don’t need to worry about when I will get everything done, as it’s all scheduled. So I know there is time for my main priorities. This also means getting good at prioritisation. Know what are your absolute must have outcomes of the week, and make sure they are scheduled in your calendar.
This is a simple but very effective way of creating calm in your mind.
- Acknowledge what you have already achieved.
Most of the time, when we can’t stop thinking about work it is because we are thinking about everything we still need to do, but we are not recognising what we have already achieved. By looking back and recognising what you have achieved it will actually calm you down. So when you feel a bit overwhelmed, take out a notepad or your phone and note down everything you have already accomplished that week. Just by doing this it will calm you down and allow your mind to focus. You can even do this proactively at the end of the day, or before your day off.
Most importantly just commit to being present doing whatever it is you are doing. Recognise how you feel when you can’t stop thinking about work when you’re with your kids/friends/family. Understand that you are in control of this, and you can make the change.
We are so used to doing multiple things at the same time it seems ‘normal’, but it’s exhausting. If you can’t do all the above steps, pick a few you are willing to try and just do it.
How have these changes helped me?
I have so much more fun with my children now. I’m no longer asking “how can I stop thinking about work” or stressing about work. I’m just fully present with my children and it’s great. I feel really great about it!
The changes are so simple, but it all starts with your mindset. What do you want? What do you want to feel? Just give it a go and see what happens!