If you’re like me, you might have a hard time turning off the ever-present ‘hustle-mode,’ or the ideas just won’t stop coming even when it’s not the time for them. So I’ve curated this list of ways to take your mind off of work, without freaking out – for anyone (including myself) who has a hard time doing this.
1. Invest some time in a hobby.
..or passion project, or spiritual quest, or whatever you do that fills that gaping hole. Television doesn’t necessarily cut it because it still leaves you a bit drained since it likely doesn’t energize you. An activity like music, reading or building something rewarding activates a part of the brain that leaves you feeling fulfilled afterward.
2. Don’t tell negative stories over and over again to whoever will listen.
Everybody has difficult things that happen at work, but not everyone is talking about those things all of the time. You’ll notice that people that re-hash, and re-play every bump and bruise story seem not to necessarily resolve the issue’s they’re facing, but many times they rile themselves up even more than before they told the story. Tell them to the people that matter to get them off your chest briefly, and then move on. Life’s too short, otherwise.
3. Play something like a sport or game.
Running and working out are great, but nothing is as immersive is a competitive sport or some kind of game that requires your full attention. I’m not above things like Halo or Call of Duty either, as it really draws you in and drowns out all other earthly cares. Of course, the benefit of sport is two-fold, as your heart gets pumping as well which is another dimension of chemical release.
4. Make a list of things you just deeply enjoy and make a day of indulging yourself in your favorite things.
This one has to be more occasional for the obvious reason if some of your favorite things are expensive, but indulging oneself really can draw attention away from work, but also encourage you to do more excellent work so you can indulge in the finer things more often… A ‘treat yo-self’ day is pretty ridiculously awesome every once in awhile, try it. Since I’m an all or nothing kind of guy, I like to make a list of everything I love. I then pursue massage, a long bath, playing music, reading, watching a movie, drawing, getting a haircut etc., and stuff it into one self-indulgent day.
5. Give yourself a backup, and set up away from office message(s).
If you’ve determined that you’ll be truly away for a Friday or Monday or what have you for a weekend; an away from office voicemail and e-mail auto-responder might just do the trick to give you that freedom you need. Nothing is quite as freeing as making sure a competent backup person is mentioned in the e-mail and alerted to be on call for some extra work those days you’ll be out.
It’s important to take off time from work every once in awhile, whether you be in web design, marketing or any field. Some people call time off a sabbatical, or just good-old fashion vacation, but there’s no doubt we need it.