There is something to be said for people who arrive at the office early, stay late and eat their lunch at their desk while scrolling through emails. Are you thinking dedicated? I was thinking disorganised.

I’m usually in the office three days a week; as I live out of greater Sydney I leave my house around 6:00am-6:15am to be at work by 8:00am. Most days I arrive around 7:30am but I know better than to trust the M4 and M2 so stick to my standard early departure. However, I also usually leave the office at 4:00pm thereby not exceeding your typical eight hour day. The days I work from home I mix it up a bit, starting later and finishing later – some times splitting up my hours to get some personal admin tasks completed during business hours. I am fortunate to have the flexibility to do this however I am not immune to feeling like you always need to be on, plugged in, checking and responding to emails or taking phone calls when you’re about to sit down to dinner.

There is a serious art to switching off. Thanks to technology we are only ever a phone call, SMS, email, Snapchat or tweet away from the world – our bosses, clients, colleagues, recruiters included.

For me, what it boils down to is respect. Respect for yourself and whatever method you use to recharge your batteries – whether that’s going for a run and a stretch or watching Netflix in your favourite trackies, you do you. Uninterrupted. Respect for whoever you’re spending time with when you’re off the clock – your partner, friends, family, massage therapist, dentist etc. Their time is just as valuable and if you want to keep them in your circle you need to remember that. Friends don’t ask friends to come over for dinner, then force them to eat alone while you’re on the phone in another room, stressing over the WENUS or whatever. And finally, respect for you, from whoever it is in your professional life who’s contacting you. Obviously there are instances where out of hours work is required – timezone differences, events etc. But these should be communicated and planned in advance, not a random 8pm (or 10pm) phone call, suddenly needing something because it’s “urgent”. If it’s urgent at 8pm, something in your processes is not working as it should.

If you’re running a business, foster an environment where the office (in whatever physical form that may be) is for work; amazing, high quality work. Head down, bum up as they used to say. Outside the office? Get off your emails, let it go to voicemail, turn off your push notifications. If you’re someone who lays awake on a Sunday night, stressing over what you need to do come Monday morning, write a list. Take it out of your brain, onto paper (or Evernote etc.), remind yourself to show some respect and get some sleep. You are worth that.

X JN