We’re all familiar with the phrase “work hard, play hard” its become a bit of a cliché, a joke, something you’d say casually, but not something we ever actually put a lot of serious thought to. But behind that one silly phrase sits a lot of truth.
Our new workplace culture
The instantaneous and all-encompassing nature of our workplace has never been more prevalent. As technology creeps into every facet of our lives it’s slowly breaking down the boundaries between work and home. Your work emails are on your phone and you can access all your work data over the Cloud. When you’re well aware you could work 24/7 and still have things to do it’s very hard not to be tempted to just check that email or finish that one report. But not unplugging from work is unhealthy.
Just a glance at statistic on mental health in the workplace confirms this. In the last few years, there has been a staggering rise in instances of mental health issues in the workplace. Because employees are finding it too hard to switch off and cannot cope with demands. We all need to take breaks.
Unplugging from work
Now I am not suggesting we shouldn’t work hard. There is a delicate balance to strike between working hard and playing hard. To be successful you need to commit to a lot of hard work and dedication, things don’t just fall into your lap. But, in order to do this without burning yourself out and remaining productive, you also need to play hard. The percentage of work and play will be different for everyone and you know yourself best, work out your balance and commit to playing hard. As mentioned above it can be hard to take a step back from work so here are three tips to help you unplug:
- Don’t put your work emails on your phone. This is something I committed to after placing all my work and university email on my phone for a year or two before realising it was increasing my anxiety and stress levels immensely. After taking them off I felt more relaxed, more grounded and I had less constant worries at the back of my mind, simply because I couldn’t check those emails whenever I wanted.
- Create dedicate work zones. This is great whether your work from home or are guilty of working at home after work. Create work and home boundaries. If you work from home choose a dedicate place to work – this cannot be your sofa or kitchen table it has to be a place you work and only work. Every time you want to work go to that designated workplace. This puts your mind in workplace mode and leaves every other area of your house free to be a home and puts your mind in “fun” mode.
- Create a routine. Once you leave work create a routine that winds your mind down and lets you step out of work mode. This could be anything you like but you have to stick to it as much as possible. Some people might come home straight away, get into pyjamas and spend time watching TV. Other might go to the gym after work to exercise, grab a coffee on the way home then relax. By sticking to this routine it gives you a clear break between work and home.
Once you’ve managed to unplug your time is yours. You’re free to do anything you want – something you enjoy or will help you relax. In your play time, the one rule is no work. There are a huge number of benefits of playing hard. I’m not just trying to get you to slack off work, by playing hard you’ll actually work harder or smarter, however, you prefer to view it. When you take time off to have fun and do something you enjoy your body released chemicals – good ones. These chemicals make you happier, less stressed and even help you power through work when you get back to it. Letting yourself take that break will make you happier, more creative and even more productive back at work, all in all, this leads to you being more successful.
These breaks are vital to your wellbeing and it’s important you take them so you can continue working hard. How do spend your time when you play hard? I like to read or go rock climbing! Share your tips for unplugging and playing hard to inspire others.