4 Ways to Recharge When Your Job Feels Like It’s 24/7

These days, the idea of a 9-to-5 job is becoming obsolete – if it isn’t already. No one needs telling about the ease of access afforded by technology, and how it simultaneously makes our working lives easier and harder. We can work anywhere, anytime, and we do – so much so that a recent study found that anything more than a 39-hour workweek is actually doing bad things to our health.

It may be easy to think that you’re achieving more simply by, well, doing more, but the reality is no matter how much is on your plate, it’s not a sustainable way of life. On the flip side, urgent last-minute tasks, breaking news, or a tougher workload warrant extra hours on the clock every now and again, which is completely normal and to be expected. But at the end of the day, we’re not robots, and self-care is important. Ahead, Lyndall Mitchell, coauthor of Chaos to Calm, tells us how to rethink the workweek.

1. Set boundaries.

Though technology has made life easier, people feel like they need to be available 24/7 because of it. Lyndall’s tip is to “bookend” your day to set boundaries for yourself – when you switch off and when you switch on. “It’s about gaining control of our time and using technology as a wonderful servant, not a master,” she says. “For example, the best time for our bodies to get the most benefit out of sleep is between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. If we can be off technology by 9 p.m. or earlier, then you start to have some off time.” The same goes for when you switch on in the morning. Instead of scrolling through your emails first thing, Lyndall advises to deal with your devices when you’re in a much more productive headspace – for example, at your desk.

2. Implement a structure to your week.

Yes, it’s possible to fight those Sunday blues going into the workweek – for good. The trick? A shift in mindset. According to Lyndall, a common cause of workweek burnout is a tendency to overschedule our time . . . and then feeling like we can’t keep up.

“Take the time to plan how to work smarter, not harder,” she advises. “For me, it’s reviewing my week in advance every Sunday. On Sunday, I know that all my exercises are in my diary, all my time out is there, and all my work appointments are there. So I can look at that and think, ‘Does this look like somewhere where I can thrive as a business owner? As a mom? As a wife? And for myself?’ If I can tick all of those boxes, then that’s a great week, and if I can’t, I need to realign some things.”

3. Get back to basics.

Amid all the go-go-go, it can be easy to lose sight of the basics that keep our bodies going in the first place. “I always look at those four different aspects, which form the foundation of wellness,” Lyndall says. “Switching off means eating well, moving well, topping up (nourishing), and sleeping well.” Are you refueling your body properly? Staying active and sleeping well? Most importantly, Lyndall says we shouldn’t feel guilty about putting a value on downtime. “Nourishing is all about those activities that help you unwind,” she says. “[Prioritize] things like catching up with friends or investing in hobbies that will actually be there later on. It may be taking a golf lesson, going to see an exhibition, or having a massage, but it’s about valuing it as something that actually helps top up your tank.”

4. Have a vision.

Whether it’s professionally or personally, having clear goals of where you want to be is key to eliminating a lot of the noise. According to Lyndall, “It’s about being clear about your day-to-day plan, your vision of where you’re heading as a person, and how you’re contributing every day to getting closer to that and emptying out what is not essential.” This involves being disciplined with time management – how much you’re taking on and how you’re getting tasks done. “It’s really important to have clarity,” Lyndall says. “Where are you heading? Because it needs to be sustainable. Have longevity, and you’ll want to take care of yourself through the process because you’ll be excited about where you’re going to end up.”