Leave It at The Door - 3 Strategies for Switching Our Minds Off Work

by - May 21, 2018

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Work, regardless of how significant it may be, is only one part of our lives. Whether you love what you do or whether you dislike it, willingly choosing to dedicate your days (and often evenings) to your job has its side effects. Forming deep attachments to something outside of your control, developing fears of losing what you've built (because you miss seeing every other incredible thing going on in your life), and losing the ability to connect with yourself, other people and the world around you are only a few of those effects. We are human and spiritual beings that are not meant to spend the entirety of our lives ''at work''. There's more to you than your job. There's more to you than your task list. There's more to you than the value of your remuneration and what you can physically see.

It's okay to have priorities and it's completely fine if work happens to be your priority as long as it doesn't take control over your life, over your happiness and inner peace. As long as it doesn't close you to other possibilities and make you lose interest in other things. If you feel like this idea resonates with you and you're ready to welcome some changes, below you can find a few ideas for adapting your mindset (because whether we like it or not that's always the first step) and some practical suggestions you can easily implement.


First and foremost, let go of the fear mentality. Let go of the fear that if you don't stay late at work every week, you won't get noticed or promoted. Let go of the fear that if you don't pile more and more work upon yourself, your team won't grasp how busy you are. Let go of the fear that if your life doesn't revolve around your career 24/7 plus the occasional weekends, you'll be deemed a "failure"  and left behind your highly ambitious peers. Let go of the fear that if you don't work until you drop, you won't be able to "afford nice things" as you grow older. There's plenty more to add in this line of thinking, but you get the picture. If those are the beliefs you live according to, you perpetuate them. If this is the world you want to believe in, that's your choice, but why would you want to live in a world that affirms those fears?

Fear of lacking and fear of not doing enough or being good enough is all in your mind. You think it and then you feel it, convinced that it's true, fully believing that if you don't breathe work every day you won't progress or end up where you want to be. That's simply not true, it's just what your fears and doubts want you to think. You can have a well-balanced life and still land a better job or a promotion. You can work doing your best without burning out and still be great at what you do. And if you find yourself asking how that's possible, I have a counter-question for you - why do you think that it's not possible? Why doubt it? Because your boss tells you so? Because your company's vision tells you so? Because your co-workers tell you so? Why would they know better than what you already know within yourself - not what's coming from your fear-based mind?

All you have to do is start practicing releasing your fear-based thinking and actions. Every time (this could be multiple times a day at first) you notice a thought that leads to you slipping back into the old patterns of thinking, catch it and turn it around - from a place of fear back to a place of love and inner calm. You'll know it's driven by fear if it makes you feel stressed out, anxious or worried, if you end up overthinking and in the "what if..." style. If it makes you go back to browsing e-mails after working hours and is the first thought as soon as you wake up, be aware of it and gently let it go or reframe it in the opposite way. For an example, instead of ruminating in "If I don't do this on Saturday, I won't be able to finish it and what am I going to do? I can't let this happen'', try this "I don't have to do it on a Saturday, I can finish it the day before. I'll do everything I can, but even if I don't manage it, I know I'll be fine anyway. It's not that big of a deal." Because in the very grand scheme of things - it's really not that big of a deal.


Think about all the habits you've developed over the years when it comes to work. Do you leave your phone on during the evenings and weekends? Are you always the first to respond to queries and issues outside of working hours? Do you spend more time eating breakfast/lunch behind your computer and your mobile device rather than with people or in "informational-quietness"? Now think about all those little mental habits you've picked up along the way such as thinking about meetings/presentations before bed, harbouring built-up frustration way past the working day, overthinking decisions and constantly worrying about what your team or superiors would think of you. Then take a deep breath and ask yourself how are these habits interfering with fully and freely living your life. Are they helping you become more lit up, content and connected or the opposite - weighing you down?

You've already got the answers, now it's just time to do something about it and creating boundaries will take you a step closer. Come up with them, write them down and place them somewhere you can see them daily. Start with the top three most important ones and practice them every day. For instance, a boundary could be anything from wholeheartedly allowing yourself to switch your work phone off after hours to letting go of the mental habit of thinking about work on weekends. It could be anything, invite those boundaries in your life and honour them.


Once you've worked on your mindset, you can try out a variety of suggestions and tools that can strengthen your discipline in switching your mind off work. Every day turn on your automatic Out of Hours email reply upon leaving your workplace. Don't look at correspondence and don't take phone calls after you finish for the day. Try not to open your work computer if you have to take it home. Make it a daily priority to eat lunch away from your desk. Avoid participating in the "busyness" mentality of co-workers - publically announcing how busy someone is doesn't correlate to actual work done.

Don't take on more than you can handle, especially when you're already feeling overwhelmed or before taking a holiday. It's a very common practice to work double and often triple before your annual leave, but it's not unavoidable (remember your boundaries). Don't be afraid to acknowledge how you feel, there's nothing shameful or weak about physical or mental exhaustion. Voicing concerns about your well-being is not an indication that you don't take your responsibilities seriously - on the contrary, showing that you care about your health means that you want to be better able to do your job.

Work doesn't have to come at the cost of your well-being and life fulfilment. Your life doesn't equal work. Happiness doesn't necessarily equal work either. But you as a whole can find contentment if you want it and if you willingly let it every day.

Have a day of love and a mind at ease!

In Daily Motivation we will lead the fight to stay motivated, whether it's about your job, the boring tasks you have to deal with, the workplace-built intolerance, finding the strength and time for your real passions, follow what truly makes you happy, or just live and wake up without the daunting feeling of having to go through another rushed day.

Previously on Daily Motivation - When Are We Most Creative?

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