Do you find it difficult to switch off from work when you get home in the evening? What about getting to sleep? Maybe you lie awake with ideas and to-dos spinning around your head? Stress from work can keep us awake and, therefore, stops us from getting the good night’s sleep we need to be productive. So, what can we do to wind down from work when we get home?
Recently, we spoke to Dr Susan Biali, a health and lifestyle expert, on her recommendations for switching off at night time, but what people tell you to do and what you actually do are very different. So we asked several successful business owners how they go about their nightly wind-down routine. Let’s see how they match up.
An activity to allow total disengagement from the working day
Joel Gascoigne, Co-founder and CEO at Buffer, said: ‘To switch off, I take part in an activity to allow total disengagement from the day’s work. For me, this is going for a 20-minute walk every evening at 9:30pm. This is a wind-down period, and allows me to evaluate the day’s work, think about the greater challenges, gradually stop thinking about work and reach a state of tiredness. After the activity, I go straight to bed.
‘I make sure that all devices are in a separate room from me (and silenced).
Once in bed, I do not read books that are related to work in any way; I read fiction.’
Many experts suggest not watching TV in bed, using your computer or any type of activity that stimulates your brain rather than relaxing you. It’s important that you make a clear association between your bed and sleep.
Karen Meager, career coach and leadership development consultant with Monkey Puzzle Training & Consultancy and co-author of Real Leaders For the Real World, agreed with Joe and suggested doing some kind of exercise before you start doing jobs around the home, or getting the dinner ready.
‘Do some kind of physical activity for 15 minutes when you get home or on your way home. Many people who go to the gym straight from work report that it’s not only convenient, but also helps them to switch off from the working day. This is especially important if you have a job that involves a lot of sitting down. By getting moving, you are waking up your body and mind.
‘Do a little exercise, some stretching, yoga or pilates or take a short walk’.
Make time to close off this working day
Karen continued: ‘Often people think that they need to switch off as soon as they walk in the door. For a lot of us though, that is easier said than done. Develop a ritual that enables you to take stock of the working day, review what’s been good and not so good, and maybe even jot down your priorities for tomorrow. Then close the laptop or notebook and get on with your home life.
‘When we are busy training, we always take time at the end of the day to review the day, give each other feedback and take any learning. It is then very easy for us to enjoy the evening without thinking about work.’
Spend time with your ‘home team’
Phil Foster is CEO of Love Energy Savings, a company which specialises in gas and electricity comparison for businesses. He said:
‘After a day with my work team it’s always great to get back to my home team. My kids cheer me up after a day at work, and sitting with them and hearing about their day at school really puts my day into perspective. It could have been the most difficult day, full of stress and strain, but when I sit with them and hear about their day, helping them work through their stresses and worries…
‘I forget about my own stress and worries and just focus on making them happy.’
Rick Bithell, co-founder of Troublehouse Theatre said:
‘The key is making sure you have everything ready for the next day before your head hits the pillow. As an actor/producer you do a lot of running about between different things and you have to be incredibly organised. Luckily, with the help of smartphones, things like social media updates and replying to emails can be written literally last thing at night. Once everything is ready, I make sure my phone is switched off or in night mode so nothing will disturb me.
‘For me it’s all about being organised and ready for the next day that allows me to drop off – sound in mind, sound in sleep!’
What do you do to switch off from work when you get home? Let us know in the comments below.