I recently stumbled on an article about the idea of ‘conscious uncoupling’ in the New York Post, and it got me thinking about the ways I intentionally separate myself from my work.
I’m a lot more productive and happy when I’m not thinking about work all the time!
That’s probably true for you, too.
The Post article highlighted tactics ranging from watercolor painting to locking your phone in a safe to keep your attention off of work.
While some of the ideas rang true I have my own set of tactics for making sure work doesn’t have my attention all the time.
So many of us are “on call” all the time so it’s important to set boundaries..
It can seem like technology makes you more productive, but what if it’s just stressing you out? Being connected all the time can be distracting and stressful, so I like to be mindful about technology.
Here’s a few tricks I use:
Being mindful about notifications.
When I first started working at Fox News as a senior producer – we still used Blackberry phones! I made the decision to turn off the flashing red light that alerted me to a new email on the front of the phone. By making the choice to control when I checked my Blackberry, I was able to stop being so reactive. That little light caused me lots of work-related stress even when I wasn’t at work. While something as simple as turning off a notification may seem insignificant, it can make a big difference. This is something I stuck with even when I got upgraded to an iPhone and have done ever since.
Creating a phone-free zone.
While I don’t lock my phone in a safe, I’ve made the choice to keep my phone out of my bedroom. The only exception is when I’m traveling — otherwise, I’ve made my bedroom a totally phone-free space. This means taking a break from everything work-related that comes with my phone. It can be hard to stick to this rule since our phones are almost like another limb! But I know myself well. And I know that I’ll start looking at email or Instagram in the middle of the night and disturb my precious beauty rest.e.
Making time for myself in the morning.
As I wrote about in my new book, Listful Living: A List-Making Journey to a Less Stressed You, I always carve out some time for myself in the morning. I began this practice when I worked at Fox, and I’ve continued doing it now that I work for myself. Before the workday begins, I always meditate, drink some tea, and read the newspaper. In addition to helping me start the day off with a balanced attitude, this routine keeps me from feeling like my whole day is dominated by work-related tasks.
These are just three ideas for creating healthy boundaries between work and your personal life. While some of the more extreme ideas about conscious uncoupling might seem intimidating, I’ve found that small changes can be just as impactful.