Effectively Closing Your Workday – A 4-Step Strategy for Managing Working from Home and More

Effectively Closing Your Workday – A 4-Step Strategy for Managing Working from Home and More

Dr. Deb Bright discusses how to effectively end your workday while working from home and achieve a work-life balance.

Dr. Deborah S Bright

Mentally turning work off at the end of the day has consistently been among the top 10 sources of stress ever since I started researching workplace stress back in the early 1990s.

With the COVID threat diminishing among U.S. workers, many of my clients have elected to take advantage of the home/office hybrid work arrangement recently offered to them by their organizations. To the surprise of some of my clients, adjusting themselves to working from home full time or part-time hasn’t been the cakewalk they anticipated. They missed during the lockdown days, when they worked exclusively from home, was their commute to home at the end of their workday. They tell me it afforded them a welcomed personal break which, in effect, allowed them to shed the day’s pressures before arriving home.

When working remotely at home, these clients admit that it’s convenient to shift from your company computer to your personal computer and quickly wrap things up and call it a day. But the problem they have with that is they get immediately immersed into what’s happening among family and friends. There’s no break. There’s no time to shake off the day’s pressure hangover. Worries about work are so quickly blurred into issues involving the home setting. They complain that even with their new hybrid schedule, which split the week’s home/office days, on home days, they miss that half-hour commute time when they can comfortably ponder work issues while anticipating the comforts or obligations awaiting them at home.

If you’ve ever experienced even a snippet of this workplace-to-homeplace transition challenge, you’re not alone! And realize there’s a lot you can do to adapt your way around it. The solution lies within your own thinking.

Strategies For Mentally Disengaging From Work At Will

Addressing this transition involves recognizing that mentally disengaging from work is a skill within your control to execute. Some proven approaches came out of the “Strategies for Enhancing Performance”*a seven-year study involving experimental control subjects. These strategies will help you disengage from work regardless of whether you commute or are an at-home employee:

1.     Set a Definite Work Close-out Time. If your work makes it necessary for you to check-in during the evening or early morning hours, set specific times to log on. Very importantly, let key people know your plan so they can coordinate and work around your schedule.

2.     Create Your End-of-Day Symbol. Just as the commute home helps to symbolize the separation of work from home life, you want to create a symbol to signify the end of your workday mentally.

It’s something I call “The Anchor Quick Charge.”**It could be cleaning off your desk or putting your reading glasses in your pocket. For me, it’s closing my office door. Practice consistently working with your symbol for at least two weeks before assessing its overall effectiveness. For more self-initiated strategies such as this, check out “Quick Charges”**at www.drdebbright.com.

3.     Give Yourself Personal Time. On days you work at home, give yourself some personal time before engaging with family members or loved ones, whether it’s time alone to sit, meditate, watch TV, or exercise. Measure how much time you need to mentally make the shift before meeting with family members or friends.

4.     Try to Stay in the Present. When engaging with loved ones or friends, make a pact to avoid asking each other questions like, “How was your day?” Raising this sort of question mentally brings to the forefront everything you’ve been trying to tuck neatly away. Instead, ask something like, “Anything new or exciting happen today?” and see how everything you’ve tried to put behind you stays there. Besides, asking this question helps to get your evening off to a good start.

You might want to use this four-step approach regardless of whether you work remotely or not. It’s a great routine to follow, and when you do, you’ll be controlling your work as opposed to being controlled by your work!

*National study completed collaboratively with New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Bright Enterprises 2003 – 2010

**AnchorQuick Charge - a technique that I developed years ago that is used instantly in situations without detection from others to direct stress positively and help you perform at your best.

Check out more Quick Charges at www.drdebbright.com.

Deborah Bright is the founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., an executive coaching and training organization, and the author of six books, including The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change (AMACOM, 2014).

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TIPP Takes

Duterte Restores Philippines's Key Military Agreement With US

Duterte Restores Philippines's Key Military Agreement With US
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with President Rodrigo Duterte

Visiting Forces Agreement, which the Philippine president had planned to cancel, is a crucial part of the relationship between the two nations.

President Rodrigo Duterte has reinstated a treaty that governs the presence of U.S. troops in the Philippines.

The Visiting Forces Agreement establishes guidelines for the rotation of thousands of troops into and out of the Philippines for war games.

It had sparked growing concern among policymakers in both Washington and Manila.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin met with President Rodrigo Duterte as well as Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

The visit was seen as a "boost" for the president, who has repeatedly expressed his contempt for the United States while signaling closer ties with China.

Middle East Economic Outlook Hinges On Vaccinations

Middle East Economic Outlook Hinges On Vaccinations

The Middle East lags the global recovery

Vaccines are an important factor in global forecasts.

According to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus barometer, only 14% of the world's population is fully immunized against COVID-19. The figure in advanced economies is 40%; it is much less than half that in developing countries.

The highest vaccination rates in the Middle East are: United Arab Emirates - 70%; Bahrain - 64%; Qatar 60%; Israel - 59%;  Turkey - 30%; Kuwait - 22%; Jordan - 21%; and Saudi Arabia and Morocco - over 20%.

Syria, Libya, and Yemen, three conflict-torn countries, have been particularly hard hit. The vaccination rate in Syria is estimated to be 0.05 percent; there are no reliable figures for Libya or Yemen.

In comparison, the world leaders in vaccination rates in Western countries are: United Kingdom (over 56%), Germany (nearly 51%), the United States (around 50%), and France (approximately 45%).

China's Panchen Lama Ignored by Tibetans Told to Show Devotion

China's Panchen Lama Ignored by Tibetans Told to Show Devotion

Tibetans who had been told by authorities to turn out to greet a Beijing-appointed Tibetan Buddhist leader sent to attend a conference in Sichuan was ignored, with only hand-picked officials present to show him respect.

Gyaltsen (Gyaincain) Norbu was named Panchen Lama by China in May 1995 to replace a candidate chosen by Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The boy chosen by the Dalai Lama disappeared into Chinese custody with his family has not been heard from since.

Senior Buddhist monks and other respected religious leaders, according to Tibetan tradition, are reincarnated in the body of a child after their death.

Gyaltsen Norbu, widely derided by Tibetans as "China's Panchen," traveled to Sichuan's Kardze (Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture to attend a religious conference. The only people who came to see him were those whose attendance had been arranged by the Chinese.

Chinese authorities have struggled to persuade Tibetans to accept their Panchen Lama as the official face of Tibetan Buddhism in China.

Four Findings From a Systematic Review About Beer and Exercise

Four Findings From a Systematic Review About Beer and Exercise

After a grueling sports match or a brutal workout, there's often nothing more refreshing than a nice cold beer.  But what about the drink's intoxicating effects? When the human body requires recovery after strenuous exercise, will downing a beer backfire?

Patrick B. Wilson, an associate professor in exercise science at Old Dominion University, and Jaison Wynne, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Movement Sciences at Old Dominion explored this, and a variety of other questions in the first systematic review of beer's effects on exercise performance, recovery, and adaptation. Here are four key takeaways:

  • Athletes are much more likely than non-athletes to drink beer.
  • Beer isn't great for hydration after exercise.
  • Moderate drinking the night before a competition likely won't impair performance.
  • Regular drinking doesn't seem to hinder athletic gains over many weeks of exercise.


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