Separating work and personal time

Like many people I have a home PC I use for personal use. I have a lap top, I just do. I have another lap top for work. I have an I phone. I have multiple ways for people to get in contact with me. For a long time I would tell myself “I need this work”. I would get emails, calls and text’s at literally all hours of the night. Now none of this was unexpected, I knew what I was getting into, I was a manager. Today? Everyone is connected, even the AP staff at my current company. That’s not a slam on them for being lesser, rather it’s an indication of how connected to work many of us have become.

I found a good article here on the subject of boundaries between work and personal life and how it can increase your stress.

From the article: “Most people simply can’t work without a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer,” said Dr. YoungAh Park, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

“These technologies are so ubiquitous and convenient that it can lead some people to think that employees have to be always on or always available. Clearly, this kind of after-hours intrusion into the home or personal life domain is unhealthy, and our research shows that an always-on mentality has a big downside in the form of increased job stress.”

The article does a good job of mapping out how the “intrusion” of being “always on” can increase job stress. Job stress can be a trigger for larger anxiety issues and being “on call” is a slippery slope for many of us with anxiety. How many times in your career have you laid in bed the night before a big day at work and worried about the days outcomes? I have DOZENS of times, and it sucks. Now at 3AM when I can’t sleep I can start working again if I want…

So how do we combat this? For some of you this isn’t a big deal, you don’t have these work expectations and or hooks into your life. If that is the case that’s awesome, believe me it sucks when you wake up in the morning and your boss has already lined up 3-4 emails for you. How to fight it? You work 9-5 (as an example), at 5 the work persona goes off.

That means, the devices you use for work get shut off. It also means that people at work don’t have access to your personal email, phone, Facebook whatever. Take the time and start working on creating two online presences, one for work and one for your personal life. I am a gamer, I write a blog… No one at work knows who “Karac Avalron” is. It took me a while to separate from work in a timely fashion. I am a manager, people still want me to be available after work hours.

In the end I have been diligent and do not reply to emails after a certain time. Everyone in my immediate work circle knows this now but it took time to achieve it. You can do it too, it takes time and effort but in the end, disconnecting from work, after work, is critical to helping you manage your anxiety.

Interested in more posts on how to disconnect? Check out this post here.