Leaving Work Stress at the Office

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work stressIs your job becoming your life? Do you find yourself consistently bringing work home with you? If you answered yes to either of these, it’s time to leave the office in the office.

Why should you leave the office at work? “It is imperative that employees leave the office at work because not doing so can lead to burnout which may have several negative implications. Employees who experience burnout are less effective at completing their tasks at work which leads to a decrease in productivity. Burnout also adversely impacts one’s personal life satisfaction. Burnout is a huge price to pay for not leaving the office at work,” Brittany King, founder of Career Credo, an organization that matches 20 and 30 somethings with companies, points out.

Having work constantly on your mind is counterproductive and negatively affects your personal life. “Perpetual thinking about work while at home can lead to decreased personal life satisfaction and may have a negative impact on family relationships,” adds King. Bringing work home–whether physically or mentally–can affect your personal relations. You know it’s a problem when “your kids or spouse/partner are constantly requesting that you stop work and focus on them. When family members begin to point out that you are doing too much work at home, and not focusing enough time on family, it’s time to listen and reevaluate how you handle work,” explains King.

Here’s How to Leave the Office at the Office
To-Do List it! “Each day at work make your priority to create a to-do list that highlights what you need to accomplish for the day. Work through the list as the day progresses and leave anything that is not completed within the workday on your list for completion the following day,” says King.

Set up boundaries. “Set clear boundaries for yourself. When you are at work, focus on what needs to be done but when you leave the office, put your attention on what you are doing,” advises clinical social worker and life coach Cara Maksimow of Maximize Wellness Counseling and Coaching LLC.

Cut your phone off to work calls.
“If you are able to turn off your alerts on your electronic devices for work related email and calls, do so. If you need to set a message that goes out at the end of the day with an emergency number to call, then do so. Put obstacles in your path to stop you from easily answering or responding to work related information,” says Maksimow.

Establish a routine. “Have a ritual that signals that the work day is over. If you commute to work, then your car ride is it. Perhaps listen to music or audiobooks on your car ride home, but disconnect as you drive. That means no work conference calls from the car,” offers Maksimow. “If you work from home, like many of us do, make sure you work out of a separate space that is just for work and that you physically leave that space at the end of your day and take a walk or go to the gym or do something every day to signal to your brain that work is over for that day.”

Create a gratitude journal. “Keep a journal where you chronicle the joys you experience as a result of setting work aside. Relish your time outside work–the taste of every meal, the chance to read bedtime stories to your kids, playing catch with them at the park, flying a kite, having a romantic date with your spouse, going to a football game with your buddies, working out at the gym,” says Leigh Steere, co-founder, Managing People Better. “If you know you will be writing about your outside-of-work experiences, you are likely to pay more attention to the details of your experiences. If you find you don’t have much to write each day, it’s a reminder to ask yourself, ‘Did I really set aside my work today?’”

Make time for a hobby.
“Get involved in something absorbing outside of work–a hobby, a sport, volunteering at a homeless shelter, coaching a Little League team–something that requires your undivided attention, making it less likely your mind will wander to work topics,” suggests Steere.