How to Plug In, Unplug

No matter how hard you try, sometimes your work life and personal life get intertwined.

Here are some signs that your work and personal life overlap way too much;

  • You talk to people in your personal life when you’re at work multiple times a day;
  • Your work e-mail is always open on your home computer;
  • You stop doing things with your friends or family because you’re too busy working;
  • You have a hard time concentrating on your work when there is an issue or excitement in your personal life;
  • You always take or return work-related calls at home instead of waiting until you’re in the office

There are plenty more, but you get the gist.

If you’re constantly working after leaving the office, it can affect your personal life and relationships. Although your colleagues may think you’re dedicated to your job, to everyone outside of work it may seem like you’re deprioritizing them.

Likewise, if you’re dealing with drama at home, it can affect your concentration at work. Worrying about a personal relationship, or if your kid is doing ok without you, can affect your work, and your colleagues may notice that you’re slipping.

As a young professional, it’s important to go the extra mile at work, but it is also equally important not to neglect your personal relationships and even your own alone time. It’s essential that you ‘plug in’ and ‘unplug’ when appropriate in order to keep a good work/life balance.

Some of the ways I like to ‘unplug’ from work are to;

  • Not look at my work e-mail when I’m at home;
  • Exercise by running in the park or practicing yoga;
  • Write a blog post;
  • Read a good book;
  • Cook a big meal with friends;
  • Watch one of my favorite TV shows; or
  • Call a friend to catch up

If you occupy your time outside of work with the things and people that mean the most to you, you won’t have any time to neglect them.

Some of the things I do to plug in and stay focused at work are to;

  • Only call people on my break or after work (rather than throughout the day);
  • Stay busy with everything I can think of, so I don’t worry or focus too much on what’s going on outside of work;
  • Don’t read or respond to my personal e-mail account to avoid getting sidetracked or engrossed in an outside issue;
  • If I find myself having trouble concentrating despite these efforts, stepping away from my work to regroup, taking some deep breaths (it really does work).

It’s impossible to keep your work and personal life totally separate, but at least there are ways you can create boundaries so that one doesn’t take over the other. Find the balance to impress those in your work life without neglecting those in your personal life.

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