Before the Internet, smartphones and tablets, when we left the office at the end of the day, we left the office. We didn’t carry the ability to check in 24 hours a day reading emails, answering inquiries and well, working. With many of us connected to the Internet ‘round the clock, it’s time to remember that there needs to be a separation between work—which pays for our lives—and life in which work is only a small part.
In order to maintain a healthy work-life balance, we need to give ourselves a chance to recover from the workweek by allowing ourselves some down time. Tony Schwartz, chief executive officer of The Energy Project discusses the need to wind down and recharge: “The importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.” When you’re tempted to check in after hours, remind yourself of all the reasons you need to just turn off and relax and let the email wait. With that in mind, here are 14 reasons why you shouldn’t check your work email at home.
One thing leads to another.
Answering one email is no big deal but, just like it’s hard to stop at just one potato chip, it’s hard to stop with only one email. Before you know it, you’ve blown an hour or more of family time.
Its rude to your spouse.
It’s hard to spend quality time with your spouse when it’s the three of you—you, your spouse and the electronic gadget that holds your attention. It’s even worse for your relationship if you’re both doing it. Make a pledge to put down the devices and spend time together.
It takes away from family time.
The world will not stop if you turn off your cell phone. Spend time with your kids, pay attention the Little League games and the dance recitals. Work, believe it or not, will wait. Balancing work and life will make you more productive.
You’re too distracted to enjoy friends and family.
Make an effort to focus and really enjoy the people in your life. Resist the urge to check your phone, leave work behind and just relax.
You never fully get out of work mode.
You wouldn’t workout 24 hours a day or eat 24 hours a day or sleep 24 hours a day. Why would you think you can work non-stop? You owe it to yourself and those around you to create a work-life balance so you can recharge your batteries.
You don’t need to be available 24/7.
Unless you’re the President, you probably don’t need to be available 24 hours a day. Chances are you certainly don’t get paid to be available all the time. Work hard when you’re at work and then enjoy your life.
Constant interruptions make everyone miserable.
This is true for any social occasion: lunch, cocktails and romantic moments. The same way it’s rude to ignore your dinner companion, it’s rude to interrupt dinner so you can answer an email. Set the phone aside and concentrate on reconnecting with those close to you.
It can put you in a bad mood.
If checking work emails puts you in a bad mood, stop it. No one can take advantage of you unless you let them. Resolve that work won’t steal your life and stay happy.
You need clear boundaries between work and home life.
You probably aren’t being paid to be available 24/7, so why should you volunteer? You’ll burn out quick if you don’t have a good work-life balance.
It keeps you from recharging.
You owe it to yourself to relax and put work aside for some part of the day. You’ll be more productive at work if you give yourself time to unwind and restore your mojo.
It can make you inefficient at work.
Studies show that answering work emails at night can disrupt sleep and actually make you less productive on the job. The need to feed your own ego, the “I’m so important I need to be constantly available” mentality is going to wear you down quicker than overtime.
It can lead to sleep deprivation.
Constantly monitoring electronic devices is no way to unwind at the end of the day. And you won’t get a good night’s sleep if you’re hearing the constant “ping” of new emails.
It leads to extra work and less free time.
No one want to be known as a slacker but no one wants to be roped into unnecessary extra work. Repeat to yourself: I need time off. Time off makes me more productive at work. Work emails will wait, life will not. Your overworked fellow employees will get it.
Rethink your priorities.
Happiness is all about balance. It’s essential to create a healthy work-life balance with time for family and friends, time for yourself and time for work. When work emails start eating into your leisure activities, it’s time to rethink things.