Switch-Off: Make The Most of Down-Time

This digitised world we live in has a tendency to blur the boundaries between work time and personal time. Our professional lives stray ever further from the confines of the office with every late-night inbox check, and there have been too many of those to count.

Yet at the same time, it’s no big news that sufficient ‘switch-off’ time results in higher production levels. We are more creative, more enthusiastic and more clear-headed when we have had a mental refresh. And conversely, we are exhausted, drained and screen-blind when we forgo deliberate downtime. Frazzling our brains and hiding behind excuses of being ‘time-poor’ is no longer the hacker’s guide to jumping up the career ladder. So if you’re ready to rest your weary soul and close down your laptop in the name of productivity, we’ve got 5 steps to ensure a blissfully zen weekend.

 1.  Limit Your Phone Time

If you’re good at switching off your laptop at the weekend, but still struggling to consciously uncouple from your phone, then you need to practice some strict rules to limit your phone time. If Instagram is your nemesis, try deleting the app for the weekend. If you enjoy taking pictures at the weekend with your phone, but don’t want to be sucked down a social media rabbit hole, try the aptly named ‘Freedom’ app. It allows you to block your phone’s internet access for a set period of time, allowing you the ‘freedom’ from all-consuming distractions such as social media platforms.

2.  Break Your Inbox Reflex

Somewhere along the way, checking your inbox became as automatic as breathing, and unsurprisingly, emails are not conducive to a weekend of mental refresh. To break the cycle, give yourself a set amount of ‘email time’ for the weekend. Make it no more than half an hour per day and if you feel tempted to check your phone after that, resolve to do something more relaxing instead.

3.  Treat Your Body

No doubt moving your limbs is a tried-and-true way of shaking some of that fuzz out of your head. But unless you’re a real gym bunny, the weekend is no time to be exercising! Try a short session of yoga in your garden or a brisk walk with a friend or family member, leave your phone at home for added feel-good benefits.

4.  Bury Yourself In A Fun Task

There’s no better way to switch off from work than burring yourself in something hands-on and fun.  Cooking can be surprisingly meditative. Pick a recipe that inspires you and set out to impress your loved ones, or – you know – just yourself. If the kitchen is an off-limits zone at the weekend, get to the garden centre to buy some indoor greenery. Whatever you've been wishing you had time to do, lock up your laptop and do it this weekend!

5.  If Your Head's Still Full Of Work...

… just do it. I know that sounds contradictory, but sometimes sitting down for an hour to complete the task that’s playing on your mind is unexpectedly calming. Once you’ve bashed it out, you can put it out of your head and enjoy the long weekend ahead.