A successful career doesn’t mean working more, or even earning more. It means working better, and enjoying what you do.
And no matter how dedicated you are to your present job, no matter how passionate you are about doing the best you can, tolerating an inner work voice that won’t quit at the end of the workday will only do you, and your career, serious harm.
Thinking about work outside of working hours, and the stress that is associated with this unfortunate affliction, damages your health, your relationships, and yes – the quality of your work. It’s been shown that taking proper time off improves the quality and productivity of your regular efforts.
The problem is, nobody ever teaches you how to switch your work mind off. Who would? Management doesn’t think it’s in their interest (although it is) to give you more meaningful rest time.
College is all about measurable results and rarely mentions professional welfare. And at high school, when they should be preparing you not just to work but to live, most teachers stick to the curriculum. And heck, they can’t stop thinking about work when they get home, either. It’s a vicious circle.
But there are many different ways to wind down when your brain can’t stop thinking about work. Each suits different people and different circumstances.
For example, writing down (with pen and paper) your work thoughts in list form, or just a few sentences describing the problem that’s troubling you, can ‘therapy’ it out of you – for a few hours at least. This works well if a specific project or challenge is occupying your thoughts.
Mindfulness is a great one if that inner voice won’t let you sleep at night. Think about the bed that you’re sleeping on, and the linen. Imagine one-by-one the textiles that were used. Think about where they came from and the path they took to reach you. How they feel on your skin.
If you have trouble forgetting working on the way home, make more of a ritual of leaving. Shut your computer down step by step. Tidy your desk. Make a to-do list for tomorrow, so you don’t spend your whole commute/evening doing it in your head. Change your clothes for the trip home.
There are many enjoyable ways to shake off that work brain and get on with your free time. This excellent new visual resource runs you through some of the best. Learn it now and it will serve you well through a long and more fulfilling career.