Life’s usually pretty busy for entrepreneurs, but for the last few months, it’s been even crazier. Working from home means we’re “free” to check emails, work on the next project, or spend more than the two hours and 22 minutes people spend on social media every day.
Harnessing all that energy for our businesses is easy since it leads to innovation and spurs creativity. At home, however, it’s a different story. In our personal lives, all of that frenetic energy can be bad for everyone, including us. Those closest to us are affected by it, too, making it essential that we learn how to unwind from work.
Entrepreneurs Have Trouble Relaxing
As an entrepreneur, I’ve had to develop many strategies to help me ditch that excess energy. Learning how to unwind was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do, but it’s been an integral part of my entrepreneurial journey.
But no matter what I did or what you do, the secret to unwinding and genuinely letting go of that frantic mindset is to develop better transitions between work and home. When you learn how to move between the two facets of your life easily and positively, everything becomes more manageable. You’re more focused at work and more present in your home life, with whatever that entails for you.
As someone who’s worked from home for a long time, I’ve developed a solid set of transitions that help me move from work mode to family and home mode. These are activities I do that help shift my mindset from work to home so that I’m more present for my family and can relax and recharge.
5 Ways to Build Better Transitions Between Work and Home
Take a look at how I transition work to home life in five steps and see if any of these will help you make those transitions more smoothly.
1. A Dedicated Workspace
It’s cliched, but it’s true. A dedicated workspace is essential when you’re working from home. If you work elsewhere in your home, like at the dining room table or on the couch, your brain isn’t able to separate work and home anymore. Your emotions and mindset get blurred, and you’re not able to disconnect properly. A dedicated workspace helps you do that.
That also means no more using the workspace to surf the Internet for fun or do a little online shopping. If you need to use your laptop for something home-related, take it out of your workspace and use it elsewhere. That’ll help prevent you from getting into work mode when you don’t need to.
2. A Plan For Tomorrow
The second step is to plan out tomorrow’s work today. Take a moment at the end of your work day, and write out your To Do list, clear off your desk, put your headphones away, and whatever else you need to straighten up. It’s another signal to your brain that work is done, and it’s time to forget about it until tomorrow.
It’ll prevent you from worrying about work when you’re trying to fall asleep or playing with your kids. You’ve already scheduled the work item for tomorrow, so don’t think about it anymore.
3. Deep Breathing
Another cliched thing that helps you transition more easily from work to home mode is to take a moment to breathe. It’s such a simple thing to do, but most entrepreneurs ignore it because we’re so busy (or we’re reveling in the “hustle culture.”)
However, when we’re stressed, our breathing becomes more shallow, and we take shorter breaths using only our chests. Diaphragmatic breathing, as the Mayo Clinic calls it, is when you use your abdomen and your diaphragm to take deeper, fuller breaths. Deep breathing has been shown to decrease the hormone levels responsible for stress, reduce blood pressure, and is generally just good for you.
4. “Recreate” My Commute
For many people, their commute home is where they destress and switch into home mode, which they can’t do working from home. If you’re having a particularly stressful day or week, get out for a quick walk around the block after your work is done to “come” home. You’re recreating the moment when you come home from work, which is another way to signal that it’s time to transition into home mode. Plus, you’ll get some fresh air and a little exercise, which is always good.
5. Ignore Work Communications When You’re Off
The final way to successfully transition from work to home life every day as an entrepreneur is to ignore work communication outside of work hours. It’s easy to check emails on a smartphone or reply to a Slack message with all the technology around us. Try not to.
Seeing work-related communications often cranks up your brain into work mode when you don’t need to and wastes energy and brainpower. You’ll be distracted from spending time with your family and friends and missing out on that crucial recharging time.
Entrepreneurs are great at learning new skills to grow our businesses, but what about a little personal growth? Mastering downtime is hard enough for entrepreneurs, but if we’re able to figure out the transitions between work and home, we’ll be well ahead of the curve.
We’ll enjoy our downtime more fully and maybe even get reacquainted with our families and friends who don’t see us all that often anymore.