The Office in Your Pocket-What To Do When You’re Working 24/7

Lately it seems like just around every corner smartphone companies are advertising the plethora of productivity features offered by their latest model.  Consumers are lining up for miles to purchase the newer, bigger, better version of the “pocket office”.  There is no doubt technology increases productivity.  Real time shopping lists, virtual wallets, and access to directions in mere seconds are just a few things that help simplify your life.  But for many, unlimited access to technology also means being connected to the workplace 24/7.

How do you know when the workday ends and personal time begins when you’re always walking around with work obligations at your fingertips?  You may be so used to immediate access that you even feel anxious when separated from your computer or smartphone for just a few minutes.  While some employers encourage employees to leave work at the office, often this is not the case.  It’s your responsibility to recognize this is an issue and take action to change some of your bad habits.  Even if you love your job, finding some separation between the workday and the rest of your life can decrease the risk of stress or burnout.  It’s also easy to start to neglect other areas of your life when you can’t ever disconnect from the job.  Try some of these tips to help disconnect from your 24/7 work week.

A change of wardrobe-Before you leave the office or as soon as you walk through the door of your home, change out of your working clothes into something more comfortable.  This ritual will represent the separation between work and home.  After all, you can’t be a lawyer or an accountant if you’re not wearing a suit, right?

Be a people person-While Siri can send your emails and remind you about appointments, she can’t warm your bed at night.  Constant connection can affect your relationships because it’s easy to neglect those around you when your eyes are glued to a screen.  Make an effort to keep your phone or laptop out of sight when you’re around people in your life who aren’t coworkers.  If it’s distracting to know you’re receiving messages, place your phone in another room.  Spending less time working after hours, can give your more time to cultivate the relationships that are most important in your life.

Turn off before you doze off-The buzz of a cell phone on your nightstand doesn’t make for a good night’s sleep.  Use an alarm clock that’s separate from your cell phone.  Responding to that email can wait until the morning.  Many phone companies are coming out with “do not disturb” features that allow you to specify which important calls can come through.   All other calls and messages will come when you turn this feature off in the morning.

Two email addresses are better than one-Make sure you have at least two email addresses- one for work and one for personal use.  Try to get into the habit of only checking your work email when you’re actually in the office.

Be unique-Just because “everybody’s doing it” doesn’t mean you have to do it too.  It’s tempting to try to “keep up with the Joneses” when it comes to how much you’re working, but someone’s got to change first.  Why can’t it be you?  You can set a good example for your coworkers and employees by setting boundaries between the workplace and home.

You may be surprised to find that productivity at work might increase when you set limits on the length of the workday.  When you leave tasks at the workplace instead of keeping them in your pocket, you can enjoy the benefits of a happier, more balanced life.