How To Stop Thinking About Work: 16 Quick Tips To Switch Off

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Today you’ll find out how to stop thinking about work.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is significant to a person’s overall well-being and happiness. However, it can be hard to shake off work-related stressors like unread emails and delayed deadlines.

If you end up continually preoccupied with work during your private time, consider becoming more aware and present in the moment, find interesting activities to distract yourself, or draw clearer boundaries between your professional and private lives.

How to Stop Thinking About Work:

1. Reflect on the potential cognitive distortions you may have with regard to your work.

This distortion refers to thoughts that don’t precisely reflect the full reality of a situation or that make things appear worse than they really are. Left unchecked, this can lead to negative emotions and job dissatisfaction.

Some common cognitive distortions that people experience at work include:

Exaggerating negative events as a universal rule, like thinking your boss does not like you after receiving one reprimand;
Mentally sift through the positive aspects of your day, such as focusing only on long, boring meetings and ignoring a nice lunch with a coworker or a compliment you received from a client;
Jumping to conclusions, such as assuming you were the first to be laid off when your company announced poor sales for the quarter; Making “should” statements, such as thinking that you deserve a raise or promotion because of your hard work.

2. To get a better perspective on the causes of work-related stress, consider implementing the 5 year rule.

Whenever you end up having trouble with something at work, ask yourself if it will matter in 5 years. If the answer is no, try to let go of the concern. This technique can help you remember the big picture and what really matters in the long term.

For example, if you stumble during a crucial presentation, it likely will not have a significant impact in 5 years. However, if you miss a presentation and lose your job as a result, that’s going to be a problem.

The 5 year rule can even help in prioritizing tasks. Focus on the things that will be significant in the long run and avoid letting small issues occupy your attention.

3. One technique to help you stay present in the moment and avoid work-related thoughts is to use a rubber band.

Wrap the rubber band around your wrist and snap it slowly anytime you catch yourself thinking about work. This sensation will remind you to direct your mind to something else.

By associating the thought of work with the slight jolt, your brain may begin to avoid such thoughts to stop being jerked off by the band. Be careful not to staple the tape so hard that it hurts or leaves marks. The goal is not to hurt yourself but to create physical reminders to take your focus off work.

4. To manage work-related thoughts and stop them from consuming your day, consider allocating just 10 minutes each day to focus on work-related matters.

Use a timer to make sure that you only spend 10 minutes thinking about work, and write down everything that comes to mind in a notebook or notes app. After the 10 minutes have passed, put away your notebook or close apps, and avoid thinking about work for the rest of the day.

You can schedule these 10-minute sessions in your planner or calendar, providing you with specific time to focus on work-related issues. Avoiding work thoughts entirely can be challenging and can exacerbate your anxiety.

By setting aside specific time to consider work, you can better manage those thoughts and maintain control over your attention throughout the day.

5. One way to increase mindfulness and reduce work-related thoughts is to practice regular 10-minute meditation every day.

To get started, find a snug place on the ground and set a timer for 10 minutes. Close your eyes and focus on the sensation of your breath as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils.

When a thought occurs, acknowledge it and gently return your attention to your breath. This technique takes your focus off work and encourages you to slow down and relax.

You can meditate so long as you like, but 10 minutes is a good starting point for newbies. To guide your meditation, consider downloading a free meditation app or taking guided meditation videos online.

6. Consider seeing a therapist who specialises in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

In CBT, you’ll work with your therapist to identify negative thought patterns and behaviors and develop positive habits to replace them. Your therapist will also provide you with tools and techniques to better manage and deal with stress.

Therapy provides a safe space to express your worries and emotions, allowing you to release pent-up tension and stress. Your medical insurance provider may offer a list of therapists in your area covered by your plan, and plenty of employers offer employee help programs (EAP) (1) which includes short-term mental health take care of personal problems. However, EAP can only cover a limited number of sessions, so make sure to check that first.

How often you see a therapist is up to you. If you need more support, weekly sessions can help. However, make sure to check with your medical insurance company with regard to the limits on the number of sessions they will cover.

7. Organize your free time in such a way that there isn’t any room for thinking about work.

By scheduling after-hours activities, you will have less time to consider work-related matters. At the start of every week, decide how you are going to spend your evening, whether it is catching up with friends or running errands. On Thursday or Friday, plan your weekend as well.

To stay organized, use a planner or calendar app on your phone to keep track of your plans. Don’t just fill your schedule with social activities, as it is just as important to have time off to unwind. However, make sure to find ways to spend that time, such as reading a book or playing with your pet.

8. Engage in a new hobby during your free time.

Use your cognitive resources to amass new skills or take part in activities such as baking cookies, working on wood, or playing games. When choosing a hobby, consider your interests, childhood activities, or things you have all the time wanted to try. Dedicate yourself to exercising or engaging in a hobby at least three days a week.

If you have difficulty learning or participating, do not be discouraged. Give yourself time to adjust because it takes time to master something new. The more involved you are in your hobby, the better off you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have.

Many free online courses are available to learn everything from languages ​​to computer programming. Choose a hobby that’s entirely unrelated to your job.

For example, if you work as an accountant, choose a creative hobby like painting or playing a musical instrument rather than something that engages the same part of your brain as work, like mastering Excel.

9. Do physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day to relieve stress.

Exercise not only increases the levels of endorphins in the brain, leading to a more positive mood, but also releases tension and reduces stress. Plus, when you are concentrating on your workout, whether it is counting reps or taking steps, you are not thinking about work, which is a win-win situation.

To keep yourself more engaged, choose activities that are challenging, such as interval or circuit training, rather than repetitive exercises such as long-distance running.

If you are short on time, break up your workout time into smaller, manageable chunks, such as three 10-minute walks or six 5-minute sets of push-ups and sit-ups spread out throughout the day.

10. Participating in social activities with people outside of work can be an awesome way to take your mind off work-related stress.

Consider joining a social group such as a book club, hiking group, or recreational sports team to connect with others who share your interests. Online platforms like can help you find groups that match your preferences in your local area.

Also, ask your friends if they know of any groups or events you can attend. By engaging in social activities, you can reduce stress, make new connections, and broaden your horizons.

11. To fully recuperate, plan and take vacations without work.

Before leaving, ensure you have completed your pending work, and that somebody is working on your assignments while you’re away. Don’t take your work computer or cellular phone with you, and focus on enjoying your commute without worrying about work.

Plan activities to keep you busy and exploring your vacation destination. Consider taking a “staycation” (2) if you’re unable or taking a long vacation. Even a few days off at home can help you reset.

Spend a few weeks planning your vacation by reading travel books, looking at photos of your destination, and making travel plans to take your focus off work. Also, set an out of office e-mail to avoid checking for work related messages.

12. Create routines that help you get into and out of work mode.

It’s hard for your mind to stop instantly when you leave the office, so create a “transition ritual” that bridges the gap between leaving work and arriving home. This could include calling friends during your trip, listening to audiobooks, or going to the gym.

This ritual will help you decompress before you get home and stop you from bringing your work-related thoughts and stress with you. You can even establish morning transition rituals that help you prepare for the work day, such as listening to a podcast or stopping by for coffee.

13. To leave work at the office, review your to-do list at the end of the day.

Go over what you have accomplished and add up everything you want to finish the next day. This will relieve anxiety, so you will not be obsessing over your list at night.

Keep a to-do list in a notebook or use a list-building app on your smartphone or tablet to improve organization and planning, which will reduce how much you consider work.

14. Create an everyday routine where you disconnect from all electronic devices at least once a day.

Whether at dinner or after a certain time in the evening, commit to unplugging and resisting the urge to check e-mail or answer calls. You can even sleep with your phone in airplane mode or use the “Do Not Disturb” setting to stop work-related interruptions.

Consider having separate work and private phones to avoid distraction from work notifications when using your phone for leisure activities. For an even longer break, consider a full weekend digital detox where you unplug from Friday night to Sunday night, allowing you to disconnect from work and reduce stress.

15. Create a special area in your home particularly for work purposes to minimise the likelihood of thinking about work while you’re in relaxation mode.

A living room or office space might be for you if you must do some work around the house. Avoid working on areas such as the kitchen counter or living room couch that you often use for non-work related activities.

Otherwise, your brain may associate these areas with work, which could be counterproductive to your attempts to separate work at home life. Also, never bring work devices, such as laptops or phones, into your bedroom, as they can disrupt your sleep patterns, causing you to associate the room with work rather than rest.

16. Express yourself briefly when talking about work from home.

Instead of using a long rant to discuss your work day, give short answers when asked about your day. Don’t bring up work-related issues and focus on other topics during your conversations with family or friends.

You can tell them you want to limit discussion about work and hold them accountable to you if you start talking too much about it.

In short, here are some ways to stop thinking about work:

Get involved in hobbies or activities outside of work
Take a work-free vacation or plan a “staycation” to recharge
Develop a routine for the transition from office to home, and vice versa
Review and organize your to-do list at the end of the day
Set boundaries for electronic use, and examine a “digital detox”
Designate a particular space in your home to work
Limit how much you speak about work around the house, and try to focus on other topics of conversation

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article on how to stop thinking about work. I actually hope that its content has been of good help to you.