After a recent holiday away from home I realised I was struggling to separate work and pleasure. It’s understandable, even if you work in a separate room it’s easy to think ‘oh I’ll just send that email’ and before you know it your mind is consumed with that task, you’re replying, thinking about it, setting a diary reminder for whatever it is you just promised to do and then you have to unwind all over again.
So during our week away I decided to make some changes to the way I work so I can separate life and work as often as possible, and already it’s made such a difference.
Let clients know when you’re going to be away (including a post-holiday secret day as I mention here)
Turn off emails on your phone
I’ve turned off email notifications on my phone. I can click on my mail app if I want to see if I’ve received emails, but that’s now my choice.
Be clear on your opening hours
Have your operating hours in your terms, on your website and on social media where possible so you don’t have any guilt for not replying when it’s your time.
Maybe too, consider having a permanent signature with your opening hours and maybe a line saying ‘I check emails twice a day, giving me time to get tasks done in between. Grab yourself a coffee and I’ll respond very soon.’
Have a business phone
Consider having a business phone that you can shut in the office on a Friday at 5pm and not pick up again until Monday morning. And never give out your personal mobile number to clients, not even the ones you like!
Have an auto response message on FB
Social media means people are totally forgetful of what are traditional hours of trading. One of my clients gets messages at all hours every day of the week, so we’ve set an auto-response to let them know the messages are picked up once a week, so if they want a reply between the hours of 9-6 Monday to Friday email *****.
This eliminates those feelings of ‘argh, I need to reply now or I’ll forget’ and lets the sender know you’re not at their beck and call night and day.
Delete the work apps
When you go on holiday remove the apps from your phone that are work related, Twitter, LinkedIn, FreeAgent, Skype. You can easily install them again on your return.
The changes for me have meant more reading, more learning, a better night’s sleep and whooping my other half’s butt at the card game SET! What works for you to separate home from work?