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6 Ways to Build Boundaries into Your Work Routine

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Working from home may have its perks, but it certainly doesn’t come without its fair share of stress and struggles. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the average workday increased by 48.5 minutes, and this bleeding over of work into personal time makes it a lot harder to separate the stress of your job from your home life. More than three quarters of people in a survey agreed that work stress takes a toll on their mental health and around 75% of people have experienced burnout at work.

Burnout is a form of job stress that can result in a host of negative consequences. For instance, employees who suffer from burnout are 63% more likely to be absent and take a sick day, and this can result in lost productivity for employers and potentially even lost income for employees. It’s important to combat the negative effects of burnout by creating boundaries for your work life. Try out any of these six ways to build new boundaries into your work routine.

1. Always Take Your Breaks

An essential way to combat burnout everyday is to make sure you’re taking breaks. Breaks allow you to recuperate from the stresses of work and even help you regain your focus so that you can go back to being productive with your day. Make it a point to never skip a meal break and to build in appropriate breaks during the morning and afternoon. You may just find that when you take adequate breaks, you’re re-energized and can better achieve your goals.

2. Use Your Time Off

Your income isn’t the only thing you earn at work. Based on your time with a company, you will have accrued paid time off too. Just like you would spend your hard earned money, you should make sure to use your vacation days, so plan them out in advance and don’t let them go to waste.

An absence management platform like actiPLANS can make the process of requesting leave easy for employees and streamline approval from managers. Simply submit a time off request in one click with actiPLANS and wait for an approval notification. Once your request is approved, all you need to worry about is using that time to rest and relax away from stress at work.

3. Say “No” More Often

Depending on your job and responsibilities, you may have varying degrees of autonomy in how you organize your schedule and workload. It’s important to communicate your boundaries when your workload is too heavy or your schedule is full. Practice saying no more often to preserve your time and mental energy. Easy ways to say no are declining a meeting invitation set during your typical lunch hour or refusing to answer emails after you log off in the evening.

4. Quiet Notifications and Your Mind

Another way to introduce a boundary at work is to make time for peace and quiet. This means silencing notifications after you log off so that work isn’t interrupting your dinner or evening routine. Not only is it important to quiet the notifications, but it’s helpful to transition your mind out of work mode too.

Meditation is a useful tool for practicing self-care and using mindfulness to combat any stress you may have carried over into the evening. To help you unwind after a busy day, try using a free meditation app or video to practice mindfulness after work.

5. Separate Your Space

Sometimes a physical boundary can make all the difference when it comes to stress and your mental health. If you’re able to, try keeping your workspace separate from your bedroom or a space you like to relax in. Shutting the door at the end of the day can do wonders to separate your mind and body from stress at work. If you don’t have the budget for a separate space, use a curtain or foldable room divider to create the illusion of space.

6. Level Up Your Time Management Skills

When you have a heavy workload, it’s important to set time boundaries for all your tasks so that you don’t get carried away with one individual project and fall behind on other responsibilities. Use a time tracking software like actiTIME to record your hours and track your progress. You can even use data from the tool to improve your productivity and performance.

Another way to level up your time management is to prioritize better. Try prioritizing with the Eisenhower Matrix and organize all your to-dos into four categories: do, decide later, delegate, or delete. Once you’ve identified your priorities, actiTIME can help you manage your assignments and stay on top of tasks so that you don’t need to work overtime.

Establishing boundaries at work is an effective way to combat employee burnout. Prioritizing breaks, time off, and boundaries like space and time are the key to maintaining work productivity and preventing losses in profits or income to absences from sick days. Time tracking and absence management software can help employees build these boundaries into their work routines easily and efficiently. When employees can take control of their work and sustain their mental health, they’re more likely to be successful in their jobs and attain their goals.

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