1 – Curb Checking Emails Out of Hours
Checking your emails is such a small thing, but a single click can open the floodgates to worrying about and doing work out of hours. Each of our team has a different approach, but we agree that avoiding work emails (and that company WhatsApp group) in your personal time can help build positive boundaries.
“Don’t check your emails out of hours. If someone really needs to contact you, they will call.” – Dan Coley, Producer
“Turn off email notifications on your phone! If you do decide to write some emails on the weekend, schedule them to send on Monday morning so that you don’t start getting responses on the weekend. This also means that your colleagues don’t feel the need to respond outside of working hours so will help them with their work life balance.” – Annabel Lawton Smith, Production Manager
“When I am on annual leave, I mute our work WhatsApp group. If there’s something urgent someone can always WhatsApp me directly, but it means I don’t get distracted by the general messages.” – Kristen Munoz, Lead Editor
“I never put my work emails on my personal phone. It means I can create a digital separation between home and work.” – Eleanor Hanwell, Marketing Manager
2 – Organise and Prioritise Your Time
The more efficient you can be during the working day, the more likely you are to be able to switch off when you get home (or close your home office door!). Each member of the team has a different approach to being organised and prioritising their time, but here are some of their tips.
“I use my Google Calendar to organise my time. Rather than only adding in meetings, I also schedule admin time that I use to liaise with clients and time for pre-production such as script writing. Scheduling my day means not only do I know what I am working on, but the rest of the team can see what I am doing too.” – Jessica Barder, Senior Animation Producer
“I love a list! I like to mix electronic lists with physical ones, such as mini whiteboards so I stay on track.” – Dan Miller, Producer
“I write an achievable to-do list of things that I need to get done each day – if you don’t have a priority list it’s easy to keep working and working for hours. I also set timers so I can focus on a particular task without distractions (using an app called ‘Forest’).” – Annabel Lawton Smith, Production Manager
3 – Start Out the Day Right and Take Regular Breaks
It’s too easy to be glued to your desk when you’re busy but taking short breaks can help you to refocus. Whether it’s starting the day with the right mindset, micro breaks during the day or making sure you make the most of your lunch break, these moments can help make sure your brain is ready for work.
“Get up early and have some YOU time before work. Have a coffee, do some yoga, go for a run or walk the dog and keep this routine daily so you feel refreshed and ready for the day, before it begins! And always start your working day off with some great music to get you in the mood. If you want to get really creative, build your Spotify playlist around your day……. but not everyone needs to get that specific.” – Amy Green, Business Development & Partnership Director
“When I’m working from home, I love to take my dogs out for a walk to give myself a break.” – Jessica Barder, Senior Animation Producer
“Go outside and get natural light, especially when you’re working at home. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, it feels different getting outside, to walking downstairs to make a cup of tea.” – Kristen Munoz, Lead Editor
4 – Leave On Time
As often as you can make sure that you leave work on time. Having a set end to the day can help you to keep boundaries between work and home.
“I try to leave on time everyday (obviously it’s not always possible!) but this way I am more productive during my working hours (as I know I need to get everything done). Leaving on time means, I have time to enjoy my horse and help my other half on the farm. Farming is physically demanding so I like to ensure he comes home after a long day to tea on the table.” – Bethan Wyatt, Executive Assistant
“My husband and I set our dinner time, which means I have to get home. As my husband works in events, sometimes he needs to go back to work after our dinner, but at least this approach means we’ve had quality time together in the evening. I also organise lunch dates with my friends who work close to the office, so I take my lunch and get to socialise too!” – Kristen Munoz, Lead Editor
“I like to book plans in the evening to force myself away from my desk. It’s important to ensure that you live during the week.” – Dan Miller, Producer
“Working at home makes it easier for me to switch off at 4pm as I finish work and I’m home. Otherwise, I finish on time but then have the drive home that adds to my day.” – Luke Evans, Animator
5 – Give Yourself Time to Decompress
Whatever time you leave the physical office, you need to leave the mental office too. So, it’s important to take time to decompress. Whether this is mentally shifting through the day or activities to help create a barrier between your work and home life.
“My partner and I do a quick recap of our day as soon as we get home to get it out of our system. Then we won’t talk about it again.” – Chenice Gynn, Editor
“Find one activity that helps you switch off from work and do it as soon as you’re done! This might be going to the gym or reading a book.” – Annabel Lawton Smith, Production Manager
Work is such a huge part of our lives, so it can sometimes be difficult to set boundaries and reclaim your personal time. However, the more you can switch off during your free time the more energised you will be during the working day.
“Work shouldn’t feel like work, you should enjoy what you do and have a well balanced ‘out of office life’. I’ve worked to pay the bills before with not much ‘out of office’ time, and it really destroys your mental wellbeing. Work and life need harmony, if one starts to wobble it affects the other. A good balance means, breaks from the screen, working hours with a cut off point so you have a restful evening, a respectful, inspiring and social environment and ultimately somewhere you want to work your best so you can live your best life.” – Victoria Bramwell, Designer
We hope these tips from our team are useful. We’d love to know some of yours too! Join us on LinkedIn to join our National Work Life Week discussion.