Work, by its very nature, is stressful. While some lucky people land in their dream careers, most people are satisfied with their job at best, or hate it at worst. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, that’s okay! Many people “punch the clock” at a job they dislike and then head home to live a perfectly happy personal life. Some people who love what they do have a hard time “leaving it at the door” and find the stresses of work bleeding into their home life. Whatever your field and occupation may be, there are a few universal steps you can take to avoid having work take more of a toll on you than necessary.
Start by Taking Care of Yourself
Beyond sleep, a healthy diet, exercise routine, and water intake are also important, but you should be particularly careful with alcohol. Many people have a few post-work drinks at night to relax, and for most people that doesn’t present a problem. If, however, you are using excess alcohol to try to self-medicate against stress, you may find it soon has the opposite effect, exacerbating stress and fatigue at the same time. Be mindful of this, and drink in moderation, if at all.
Make A To-Do List at the END of Each Workday
The thing that often dooms to-do-lists to fail is that people are trained to make them at the beginning of the day. This seems to make sense, but it’s a poor use of time. You’ll spend several minutes trying to remember what you need to do and writing it up when you could be diving in and crossing items off right away. All it takes to do this is to get in the habit of writing or typing it for the next day at the end of each work day. Think about this: both new tasks and things that you couldn’t get to which need to carry over will be fresh on your mind. You’ll also be motivated to get it done because you’ll be on your way out the door!
Go Offline After Work
Taking another look at work/life balance, it’s important to know when to call it a day. Many people now pride themselves on being available 24/7 thanks to smartphones, SMS messaging, and email. While it’s noble to want to be helpful, we’re not designed to always be working. Constantly checking emails and taking work projects home isn’t good for you whether you have a family or live alone. Everyone needs time to power down and relax for their mental and physical health. Set reasonable boundaries at work and consider turning off your email app when you get home, or shortly thereafter. If you have a job where emergencies may come up after hours, try instructing coworkers to call rather than text or email if it rises to that level. If not, deal with it in the morning!
It may seem overly simple but taking care of your physical and mental health combined with organization and planning may work wonders for your career and your life in general!