I spent the past weekend with this view. It was gorgeous!
But this view came with a cost more important to me than money…
It was deep in the woods of Northern Wisconsin. Which meant there was no Internet and no cell phone coverage.
No Internet! What the hell am I thinking!?!
If you’re like me, the thought of no connection to the outside world for a couple days is torturous. But I knew the weekend would be fun and it would be a great opportunity to get away. So I joined a group of my buddies at a lake cabin.
And at first it was nice.
Unfortunately, though, it got depressing fast. Because it made me realize how dependent I am on being constantly connected to the world. And rightfully so. This is after all the essence of being a digital nomad. The ability to work anywhere at anytime is essential for this lifestyle design.
However, after I got through the moments of wondering what I should do with my life, I realized that no Internet connection didn’t matter.
We all need a break from work!
Luckily, it doesn’t take travelling to the middle of the woods to escape work for a while.
By using the following five strategies, you’ll be able to easily separate work from your personal life:
1. Proper Expectations
I may be young, but I remember the days of no cell phones. Or when email and texting wasn’t the preferred communication channel.
People weren’t always available. And it was ok.
So what changed?
People’s expectations of communication have evolved into an unreasonable now or never fantasy world.
Everyone thinks they need their answer five minutes ago. But things can wait.
Until the people you do business with understand that you have a personal life, you will never be able to effectively escape work time.
I know, I know. This is easier said than done! But you have to make an attempt at reframing your contact’s expectations on how they work with you.
2. Virtual Receptionist
I only have a cell phone. Which obviously makes it harder for me to escape work.
However, I’m proud to say that only a few select people know my cell phone number.
Everyone else, clients, colleagues, associates, etc, all have my virtual receptionist’s number. And I love it!
By the way, my virtual receptionist is named Google Voice
Google Voice is amazing for separating work from personal life. Because if you’re like me and you use a cell phone for your only phone, you rarely can escape the calls at odd hours and weekends.
But not with Google Voice! It works like this:
When you sign up for the free service you get a number and voicemail inbox.
From there, you get to choose what phone number calls are routed to. In turn, the caller must announce who they are which allows you to accept the call or send it to voicemail. No one is the wiser if you are technically available but not in a talkative mood.
It’s glorious! Check it out, definitely worth implementing if you work with people over the phone.
3. Working space
Whatever you do, try not to mix your working area with your living area.
I know how easy it is to sit in your bed with some work. Or curl up in your favorite chair with a laptop.
Don’t do it!
Subconsciously you are destroying your work-life balance.
As you condition yourself to believe your personal spaces are work spaces, you will never mentally escape your work.
Therefore, dedicating a specific area for working is vital!
4. Notepad of Ideas
It always seems that the more I try not to think about work, the more I end up devoting brain power towards work ideas.
But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, I’m betting your best work-related ideas happen when not working. The key, though, is to not let this interfere with your personal time.
Write down the idea. And get back to your life!
5. Managing Email
I saved the best for last.
Everyone I know has trouble escaping email. And rightfully so. We have evolved into a society that depends on email.
But if you have already completed step 1 and set proper expectations with your correspondence, the best advice I can give you is to shut down anything that receives email.
The world will still revolve if that Texas Roadhouse coupon remains unopened.
I firmly believe that the perfect antonym for productivity is notifications.
Think about it; you get an email and your computer gets a popup, your phone beeps, and twelve different apps now have a number attached to the icon. It’s almost impossible to not know you have new emails waiting for you.
To escape the onslaught of email you must hide any indication of new emails. Remember the old adage: out of sight is out of mind.
Therefore, disable push notifications on your phone and close down your email client… or hopefully put away the devices altogether!
With nothing announcing you have new messages, you can successfully escape email.
It’s possible to separate work & personal life!
By following the above steps, I feel positive that you’ll be able to escape the clutches of work. Good luck!
What have you found that helps you balance work and life? Any tricks you use to escape work? Let us know in the comments below: