When you’re driven by your work and love to work, a.k.a. living in the grey, you might find it difficult to take time away from work to relax and decompress.
Gretchen Rubin, author of the very popular book The Happiness Project, says if this sounds like you, you’ve got to recognize the value of leisure. If working is a high priority for you and you do it all the time, make sure leisure is also a high priority. Schedule it in and make time for it, just like you would make time to prepare for an interview.
She cautions though, to be wary of “polluted leisure,” those times when you are neither working nor at leisure. You’ve probably had those moments when you are watching TV and you think you’re relaxing but your mind is clouded with thoughts of “I could/should be working.” You end up not feeling relaxed but also not productive.
One of Gretchen’s tricks to making sure she creates enough leisure in her own life, is to give herself a quitting time. The truth is, nowadays our work isn’t relegated to 9-5. We can literally be working all the time so it’s much more difficult to know when to quit.
To combat this, Gretchen creates an artificial divide. She’ll move away from her computer at quitting time so it’s harder to get back to work. Another idea is to make your phone hard to access. You’ll be less likely to check work email if it takes a great deal of effort to get to your phone.
Quitting time might change everyday depending on what makes sense for you and your work, but we encourage you to try it. Let us know how it works out for you below in the comments section!
If you want to hear more about Gretchen’s thoughts on work and happiness, check out this interview she did with one of our favorites, Ramit Sethi.