Working remotely has become the new norm for many of us in this digital age.
Whether you’re a full-time digital nomad, a freelancer, or working from home, the benefits of remote work are undeniable.
It offers flexibility, autonomy, and a better work-life balance.
However, with that comes the challenge of disconnecting from work.
Unlike being in an office, when you work remotely, it’s easy for the lines between work and personal life to blur.
This can lead to burnout, stress, and the feeling that you’re never truly off the clock.
In this post, we’ll share some tips on how to disconnect from work when working remotely.
Why You Should Disconnect When Working Remotely
Before we get into the how let’s talk about why it’s important to disconnect from work when working remotely.
The biggest reason is that it establishes healthy boundaries for yourself and your work life.
It also helps prevent burnout, which can have serious long-term repercussions on your health and career.
Additionally, disconnecting from work allows you to be more productive during your working hours and make sure you’re focusing all of your energy on the task at hand.
It also gives you time to relax and recharge so you’re better prepared to take on whatever comes next.
Now that we know why it’s important to disconnect from work, let’s talk about how to actually do it.
Tips To Disconnect From Your Remote Job
Create physical boundaries
When you work remotely, it’s crucial to have a designated workspace.
This separates your work life from your personal life.
Even if you don’t have a home office, find a corner of your apartment or home that you can use as a workspace and set your desk there.
Set clear boundaries for yourself and those around you.
This trick is particularly effective for those who recently transitioned from an office-based job as it aims to recreate the feeling of “leaving the office” once you get out of your designated work space.
Set a schedule and stick to it
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is the temptation to work all the time.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “just one more email”.
Before you know it, you’ve worked an extra two hours and missed out on valuable downtime.
To prevent this, set a clear schedule for yourself.
Decide when you’ll start and finish work and stick to it.
It’s also helpful to schedule breaks and prioritize self-care activities like exercise, meditation, or spending time with loved ones.
Create a ritual
One of the best ways to disconnect from work is to create a ritual that signifies the end of your workday.
It could be something as simple as shutting down your computer, closing your office door, or going for a walk.
Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that signals to your brain that work is over and it’s time to transition into your personal life.
This will help you switch off from work and be more present in the moment.
Speaking of being more present in the moment, mindfulness is all about it.
It’s a practice that can help you reduce stress and anxiety and improve your overall well-being.
When you find yourself dwelling on work outside of your designated work hours, take a moment to practice mindfulness.
Close your eyes, take deep breaths, and focus on your senses.
The aim here is to suppress or at least drastically reduce the instinctive “fight or flight” response that keeps you hooked to work when you’re supposed to switch off.
Take a couple of deep long breaths and ask yourself: “What’s the worst that can happen if I reply to these emails/messages tomorrow?”.
What’s more? Practicing mindfulness regularly can also help improve your mental and emotional resilience.
Get a hobby
When you’re not working, it’s important to have activities that you enjoy.
Having a hobby that you love can help you disconnect from work and recharge your batteries.
Whether it’s reading, painting, playing a sport, or cooking, find something that you love to do and make time for it.
A great way to use this as an effective tool to disconnect from work is to keep yourself accountable by having someone waiting for you to practice your hobby (i.e. friends needing you to be able to play as a full team).
Taking time for yourself will help improve your mood and your productivity when you return to work.
Get a separate laptop for personal use
If you’re using your work laptop to check personal emails or even just browse the internet for non-work related activities, it’s easy to get sucked back in when you should be taking a break.
To truly disconnect from work and keep yourself accountable, it might help to invest in a separate laptop for personal use.
That way, when you need to take a break from work, you can easily switch off by putting your work laptop away.
This also helps create a psychological distinction between “work time” and “break time”, which will help reinforce the importance of switching off every once in a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I disconnect from work when working remotely?
It’s essential to create boundaries and practice self-discipline to unplug from work while at home. Take a couple of deep long breaths, practice mindfulness, find a hobby that you enjoy doing, and take time for yourself each day to help improve your productivity when returning to work.
What is the best way to switch off from work?
Mindfulness is a great tool to use as it helps reduce stress and anxiety while improving overall well-being by focusing on the present moment instead of dwelling on past experiences or worrying about future events. Taking deep breaths and asking yourself “What’s the worst that can happen if I do XYZ tomorrow?” can be very helpful in suppressing any instinctive reactions related to fight-or-flight response which keeps us hooked onto our screens during designated off hours!
Are there other activities besides mindfulness that can be used for staying away from my laptop/smartphone outside of office hours?
Absolutely! Finding an enjoyable hobby such as reading, painting, playing sports or cooking is a great way to stay away from your laptop/smartphone outside of office hours. Additionally, engaging in conversation with friends and family or taking a walk outdoors can help improve your mood and productivity when returning to work. Lastly, it might be a good idea to get a separate laptop for personal use.
What are some tips for setting boundaries when working remotely?
It’s essential to be aware of your work hours and stick to them as much as possible. Consider creating a plan that outlines what needs to be done during the day, including breaks for meals and activities that can help improve your productivity in times when you feel overwhelmed or unfocused from work tasks. Additionally, establish clear expectations with your employer regarding after-hours communications or requests and set aside specific blocks of time each day when you are not available for work-related matters.
Disconnecting from work when working remotely can be challenging, but it’s essential for your wellbeing and your long-term productivity.
By creating boundaries, setting a schedule, creating a ritual, practicing mindfulness, and finding a hobby, you can disconnect from work and reconnect with your personal life.
Remember, work is only one aspect of your life, and it’s crucial to take time for yourself and your loved ones.
Disconnect to reconnect and enjoy the benefits of remote work!
Did you try any of these tips or do you have any others I missed in this article? Let me know about your experience on Twitter and tag @cremedelakarim!
About the author
Karim Bel Hadj
As his name suggests, Karim is the founder of Creme de la Karim. He fell in love with remote working since he left his first corporate job and never looked back! And because something you love is almost always better shared, he is on a mission to help all remote workers and digital nomads make the most of this amazing lifestyle. You can reach out to him via Twitter @cremedelakarim