Disconnect to reconnect

Would you believe that the average person checks their phone about 200 times a day? That’s once every seven minutes. Most people are now spending more time online than they do asleep.

As technology shapes the way we work, we find ourselves spending more and more time in front of screens and able to connect with customers and clients across the globe in real time.

The drawback of this connectivity is that it is becoming harder and harder to switch off – the lines between work and rest are slowly blurring. We might be leaving the office, but by answering emails and phone calls outside of work, we are never actually leaving work.  

 

The problem has become so widespread that France passed a law establishing workers? ?right to disconnect? from answering or sending emails after hours or while on leave. Until other countries and workplaces follow suit, so many of us are attached to our work 24/7 on a kind of electronic leash ? how should we cut the cord?

With Easter on the horizon, now is the perfect time to take a step back and ask yourself how you can switch off to improve your work-life balance. 

1.      Set up automatic replies from your email

By setting up ?out of the office? replies, you are ensuring your contacts are regularly receiving a reply from you, but you are also setting expectations. When you write the template for your email, provide clear timelines as to when you will be checking your emails (if at all) and the rules you have set around what is considered a ?priority? and what can wait until you care back in the office.

2.      Charge your phone outside the bedroom

I can already hear you asking ?how will I wake up for my alarm??

If you are still using your phone’s alarm, it might finally be time to go back to basics and buy an alarm clock. When one of the first things you do in the morning is checking your work emails on your phone, something needs to change. By ensuring your bedroom stays as a ?phone-free zone?, you are creating clear barriers between rest and work.

3.      Delete, delete, delete

If the temptation to check your phone is still there even when it’s in the next room, try taking drastic action and delete the email app from your phone or turn off notifications from your work email account. While this strategy probably isn’t a long-term solution, it might be viable for the duration of your holiday or a few days spent with your family. After all, you can’t check something if it isn’t there.

4.      Find a buddy

There’s strength in numbers. Find a colleague who will also commit to cutting down on emails and calls after hours. Sharing your goals with another person suddenly makes you both accountable for your actions and raises the likelihood you will stick to your plan.

If you are both still struggling to switch off, trying raising the stakes: the first one to cave buys the other lunch for a week!

5.      Catch yourself in the moment

Take notice of when you are at home physically, but not mentally. Let me explain: if you are watching a movie with your family but actually thinking through a challenge you are trying to solve at work, you are working.

When you notice you are undertaking a work activity, the best thing you can do for yourself is to stop, write it down and come back to it later when you aren’t spending valuable time with your family and friends. This can be surprisingly difficult to do and requires you to practice mindfulness. For a great guide on how to be mindful, click here

Work-life balance means something different to everyone, but by making small changes to step away from the screen and switch off, you can return to work refreshed and ready for a new quarter of challenges and growth.

In that spirit, I would like to wish you and your family a happy (and restful) Easter! 

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