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When Unfinished Work Emails and Meetings Cause Stress at Home


If you come home feeling overwhelmed by your workload, there is a good chance that you are spending less time getting your work done and more time trying to keep up with emails, texts, and attending meetings that have little to do with your job description. This leaves you feeling depleted and stressed. According to a recent survey, most employees spend 57% of their total workday digitally communicating and attending meetings with less than 43% of their time creating and carry out their job. This leads to work overload, a feeling of never catching up, and stress that gets taken home and displaced onto those you love the most. Feeling discouraged at work can also lead to feeling less confident in your professional and personal life.


Fortunately, there are things you can do to help you own less of the stress you feel and minimize its effects. Like most changes, it will take time and practice, but in the long run, it will leave you with more time to create and complete the job you were hired for. Here are some steps you can take:


  1. Set Boundaries: Make a clear boundary between work and home. Have a workspace at home and set a schedule that is respected by family when you need to work in your space. Don't get seduced into attending meetings that have nothing to do with you. Before you are asked to go to a meeting, there should be a clear reason you are there. If there isn't, don't attend. Meetings are one of the biggest time wasters, so shortening them will help you get your work done.

  2. Make a To-Do List Every Day: A to-do list isn't an option; it's a lifesaver. It helps you organize priorities, urgency, and importance based on what's best for your job success. Feeling organized is a big stress reducer too.

  3. Unplug and Protect Your Time: Everyone is different with what time of day they are most productive. As much as possible, protect your time of highest production during the day. Don't take random calls or emails; focus on what you are creating and what you need to complete.

  4. Take Relaxation Breaks at Your Desk: Many employees don't get breaks as needed, leading to mistakes, irritability, and low-quality work, adding to their stress. When you need a quick break, take a walk, or shut your eyes, breathe, and restore calm. Three to five minutes is enough for a quick recharge.

  5. Talk to Someone: Talking to someone about your stress can help you put things into perspective and provide emotional support. Reach out to a trusted friend or family member or consider speaking with a mental health professional if you're not able to sleep and increasingly overwhelmed.

Our work lives have changed, and more responsibility is being placed on individuals without the support they desperately need. It's essential to prioritize your mental and physical well-being, even when you have unfinished work at the office. By taking care of yourself and practicing stress-reducing techniques, you can feel less overwhelmed and more in control of your situation at work, which will generalize to your home life. -Mary Jo Rapini


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