How to unplug from work during the weekend

by Sabrina Son

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, a standard weekend, or a week-long vacation, we all need to give our brain a break from work. But let’s face it: it’s difficult to avoid working while we’re not actually on the clock. We have loose ends, projects that we’re accountable for, and deadlines to meet.

However, burnout comes quick. And the results of burnout isn’t pretty. Just take a look at some of the findings from TINYpulse’s Retention Report:

  • Employees who are burnt out are 31% more likely to think about jumping ship
  • A positive work-life balance leads to 12% lower chance of attrition

As much as people may love their job, it doesn’t prevent them from feeling exhausted and worn. To combat this issue, here are five tricks to stop you from thinking about work or stop you from working.

1. Give your brain a different problem to solve

Some of us are just used to having a wired brain that needs to constantly tick. If that’s the case, try putting that focus and energy elsewhere. Play complex board games, look up new recipes, or take on a new craft or home project to keep your mind busy.

2. Put your phone down

Smartphones are great in that they keep us connected to everything and anything in the world. But that’s also their downfall. When you’re out at dinner, try out the popular method of having everyone put their phones facedown on the centre of the table. Then make a rule that forces the first person to touch their phone to pick up the tab. This helps eliminate the temptation to check in on your phone. 

3. Sign out from any work-related accounts

Again, technology raises the temptation to “just check in” on work. So sign out of your email or any other accounts on both your computer and any mobile device. We all know what happens when you just check in on one thing and it ends up leading us down a black hole of other work tasks.

4. Turn off all push notifications

Co-workers keep buzzing you on Slack, Yammer, or whatever other chat system the organization uses? Turn off the push notification. They can keep buzzing to their heart’s content while you keep your weekend to yourself. After all, they ought to respect your time. Let them know to contact you via call or text if it’s urgent.

5. Leave your laptop in your car trunk or at work

If you’re having a really difficult time unplugging, then take away the physical object that’s keeping you connected — your work laptop. Tell yourself that you won’t open your computer until you’re ready to check in and are willing to commit the time. It’s the perfect start to giving yourself the mental break you deserve.

We’re not telling people they’re not allowed to work on their days off, because we understand it’s avoidable sometimes. Instead, we’re encouraging everyone to just give yourself some time to breathe. Rest and relaxation are essential to keeping yourself engaged at work and motivated in the long run.

This article first appeared at TINYpulse