How to Really Leave the Office

office

It’s your day off and you’re miles away from your work place, but even if you should be resting, your mind is still stuck at work. Have you ever had this kind of problem?

Our contemporary corporate culture has slowly seen more and more people have problems really detaching from the office even on times when they should be out of it. It’s becoming more and more common for people to bring work home, to continue doing work emails on days off, and to be stuck with a perpetually ringing mobile phone during vacations and leaves. As a result, we are losing valuable time that we should be spending resting, bonding with our family and getting social.

Our lives were not meant to be purely about work. It’s common for people to think of their jobs as God’s sole purpose for their life, but to think profession is all God calls you to is a huge mistake. God also calls you to build relationships, to be a blessing to your family and to enjoy life to the full outside of the context of the work place. Human Resource expert Carly Guthrie once said “A really good CEO thinks about the bigger picture and realizes people have lives outside of work. That’s the number one way to prevent people from feeling like they might want to be somewhere else.”

When we fail to really leave our offices after 5PM (or whatever time you get off work), we become more prone to burn out and to losing track of why we do what we do. While God wants you to be productive, that doesn’t mean you should have a string attached to your work that your boss, clients or workmates can pull anytime. That’s why God puts so much value to the Sabbath and even commands us to observe it (Exodus 20:8)- because He probably foresaw that the day would come that men and women would be too attached to the work place.

When we fail to really leave our offices after 5PM (or whatever time you get off work), we become more prone to burn out and to losing track of why we do what we do.

So now we know that we really need to leave the office when it’s time to leave- to put off that work chat app, to shut down your computer, to leave all those work papers at the desk- but how can we escape it? Many professionals feel that work sucks them into a vortex that pulls us in no matter how hard we try to squirm free of its grasp.

Here are five practical ways to detach yourself from work when it’s time to rest:

1. Make boundaries clear with your boss and workmates

When boundaries are not clear to our boss and workmates, the emails, phone calls, work chats and alerts will just keep pouring in. Starting today (or anytime as soon as possible) we can build specific time boundaries that will truly separate us from the office when it’s time for us to rest.

The last thing your spouse, children, family and friends want to hear is a ringing phone at the dinner table. And if your boss doesn’t stick to the boundaries, stick to them anyways. You don’t owe your work your whole life. You deserve to live a life outside of the office.

2. When things are out of our control, know God’s still in control

Sometimes it can feel that we have to log in extra hours to get the impossible done- that deadline, that client meeting, that presentation. When things are out of control, know that it’s out of your control too and let things take its natural course. There’s no use losing sleep and time with loved ones on things that you cannot fix.

That doesn’t mean that we should be complacent and just ignore difficult tasks, but there comes a point that we must stop and leave things at the cross and allow God to work while we are busy resting in Him.

3. Stick to a “no gadgets policy” at home

It may sound simple enough, but it can be hard to do at times. Our mobile phones, laptops and gadgets can be the biggest impediment to rest and quality time with the family. When it’s time to go into family mode, it’s time to shut down those devices.

Even unproductive things like mindlessly browsing through social media sites for hours can become an impediment to rest and shutting down all connections can help take out the idleness at home.

4. Separate your office space from your rest space

Nowadays, it’s common to see more people work from home especially with the rise of freelance professionals. However, even when we work at home, our rest space should be separate from our work space to avoid confusing the brain between rest time and work time. Avoid working on the bed or in the living room and keep those spaces solely for rest and recreation. Investing in a small office desk or even an office at home might help.

5. Enter God’s rest

Even if it’s your day off or even if you’re on a vacation, we will never find true rest apart from the presence of God. Psalm 62:1 says, “Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.”  The stress, pressure and challenges we face at work are real things, but Jesus makes an invitation to all who are burdened and tired to come to Him and find true rest.

God doesn’t want us burnt out and tired. He wants us to be refreshed yet still productive. When we truly find rest, God is most glorified and our work is most maximised. It’s time to really leave work in the office and rest because it is when we rest that God does His magnificent work.

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