Sent by Kouassi Etien.
Boundary Setting for the Work Obsessed
Do you find yourself waking in the middle of the night, thinking about work?
Do you check your work email at home in the evenings or on weekends?
Do your family and friends get tired of hearing you talk about work?
Do you frequently take work home with you?
Do you find yourself thinking about work issues when you’re supposedly doing something recreational?
If you checked more than one or two of these as yes, then you may be obsessed with your work. Consider some of the following ideas for setting boundaries that will help you to separate your professional and personal lives.
1. Choose flow-inducing hobbies that really engage you and pull your mind away from work.
Flow is a sense of effortless engagement in what you’re doing. You’ll find it in activities that have clear objectives and challenge you to stretch a bit beyond your current level of skill. What kind of hobbies can produce flow? Sports like martial arts or soccer, games like poker or bridge, art like painting or pottery, and puzzles like crosswords or sudoku are a few examples. Such activities will lure you away from thoughts about work because, unlike passive activities such as watching TV, they can provide the same sense of engagement and challenge that your work life offers.
2. Set goals in your personal life just like you do in your professional life.
Working towards goals is a sure way of getting yourself excited enough about non-work activities that you can pull yourself away work. This tip works in tandem with the first, because goal-oriented activities are more likely to provide a sense of flow than activities taken on for relaxation.
3. Schedule dates with other people for non-work activities.
For example, arrange to meet a friend for drinks and conversation after work, or make weekend plans with your friends or family to go hiking. Solo plans are easier to break in favour of work. If you have a commitment to another person, you’ll be more likely to shut the laptop and mobile phone off.
4. Use tech boundaries to separate your work and your life.
Think about whether you need to create different computer, email, and instant messaging accounts for personal versus professional activities. If you have access to all your work tools when you log in to upload vacation photos or video chat with a friend, you’re likely to get drawn into work email and work tasks even when you intend otherwise.
5. Decide your “no’s” in advance.
Figure out which types of activities in your work life just aren’t worth the time you put in. This might be meeting people for lunch, attending unnecessary meetings, or taking on extra projects that require weekend work. Whatever your low-value activities are, make a rule up front to say “no” instead of deciding on a case-by-case basis. This way you’ll leave more room for your personal life and boost your professional effectiveness at the same time.
UNHCR Management Minute