Ever have trouble shutting down when you work from home?
I find I tend to get on a roll around 6pm – just when I want to be doing something else with my evening. Even if I do force myself to shut my computer, it’s easy to ruminate over the things I should be working on or what happened throughout the day.
And apparently, I’m not the only one. According to a recent report, this is the biggest productivity killer for a third of remote workers.
If shutting down is a problem for you too, there are a number of things you can do to make it easier to switch off when you’ve done enough for the day.
1. Remember your why
Chances are you had a good reason for choosing a remote working lifestyle. Do you prefer to set your own schedule each day? Do you have family commitments that make that essential for you? Do you want to travel while you’re working? Whatever it is that drew you to this kind of work, keep it at the front of your mind so you’re sure to continue to make time for it.
2. Pause your emails and calls
Boomerang is a great tool that allows you to (among other things) pause your inbox at certain times. Set your inbox to stop receiving emails after 5pm, so you’re not tempted to get pulled in new directions at the end of the day. Go one step further and set a custom ‘do not disturb’ on your phone that automatically begins outside of work hours and only allows calls from close friends and family.
3. Set a calendar reminder
It might sound simple, but having a notification go off 30 minutes before you want to stop working can help you know when it’s time to wind down whatever you’re working on.
4. Schedule an activity
Book in something you like to do outside of work – like meeting a friend or going to a yoga class. Not only will you be forced to stop work, you’ll also ensure you’re making time for the other things you enjoy.
5. Give clients realistic timeframes
If your deadlines are unrealistic, it’s no wonder you aren’t able to finish at a reasonable hour. Make sure you give yourself enough time to finish your projects, so you aren’t stretching yourself too thin. As long as you’re realistic from the outset, clients are usually comfortable with a slightly longer timeframe… And best case scenario, you can surprise them by finishing earlier!
6. Write your task list for the next day
When it’s time to finish work for the day, write down anything you weren’t able to complete and schedule it for the next day. Once it’s out of your head and on paper, you should feel more comfortable letting it go until the morning.
7. Separate your workspace
If you work from home, setup a desk or workspace in one area of the house. When it’s time to finish, leave the space, close the door (if you can) and don’t go back in until the morning. Otherwise, consider working from a coworking space or a cafe, so you can easily signal the end of the day by leaving.
8. Get a hobby
Find something you love to do outside of work and make time for it. Finishing work will seem much easier if you’ve got something to look forward to – even if it’s just cooking something new for dinner each night.
9. Have a work uniform
Even if it’s sweat pants and a t-shirt, having an outfit to get changed into and out of for work can help you signal the beginning and end of the work day.
10. Put yourself first
If you’re working for yourself, more hours means more money, so it can be hard to justify switching off if there’s still more to be done. But remember, you can’t make any money if you’re sick or you’re too burnt out to work at all, so you need to make your health (and sanity) a priority.
The benefit of most remote work is that you set the rules, so make the most of that by enjoying a great work/life balance.