A Guide to Setting Boundaries and Disconnecting From Work

Whether it’s a vacation, a sick day, or just simply after 6:00 pm, it’s important to be able to completely disconnect from work without everything falling to pieces. However, turning off your phone and ignoring your inbox is far easier said than done. These tips will help you get off the grid and get the recharging time you need:

Set a realistic goal. Is it reasonable to expect to disconnect from work while you’re on a 5 day vacation in the Caribbean? Absolutely. Is it reasonable to expect that you’ll never be contacted about anything work-related after 5:00 pm on weekdays? Probably not. Before developing a plan to leave the stress of work at the office, make sure you come up with a solution that’s both fair to you and your employer.

Talk to your boss. If you don’t want your disconnection to be viewed as negligence, you need to talk to your boss. Explain why you need time in your day/week/year that’s untouched by work issues and what solution you have in mind. She or he may not even be aware that you’re dealing with client issues at 11:30 pm on a regular basis.

Notify anyone who will be affected by your plan. If you have colleagues who expect to be able to reach you 24/7, you need to let them know when you won’t be available. This gives them the opportunity (and incentive) to get in touch with you during business hours and ensures that your plan will be successful.

Be consistent. If you say you’re not going to be reachable on Sundays, don’t be reachable on Sundays. Though it might be tempting to just quickly respond to an email or return a coworker’s call, it’s a slippery slope that will eventually result in a return to your current problem of constant connectivity. Unless there’s an actual fire (and not the metaphorical, client-created kind), you shouldn’t cave in and deal with work issues during your specified off-the-grid hours.

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