There are many ways that employees can upset their work-life balance. Checking emails after hours is high on the list of transgressions. Recent studies show that many workers feel more significant anxiety and lower relationship satisfaction when they check emails during non-working hours. The sense of continually being “at work,” even on evenings, weekends, and vacations, creates stress that has negative implications for your mental health and relationships. 

If you are one of the many who feel compelled to check email messages when you’re not at work, here are some suggestions for breaking the habit: 

Set working hours and stick to them. emails

When you set business hours and inform your clients, you make it possible to disengage from work when you aren’t there. Once your clients get used to your new boundaries, they will know to send you messages during your working hours and will stop expecting replies at 9:00 pm.  

Plan your projects and schedule ahead of time.

Plan your schedule well in advance so that everything your project requires will have been taken care of early in the process. This method can help to eliminate those last-minute requests that tend to interrupt your quiet time with your family during the evening. Any emails that come in after working hours can wait until morning because you know everything is moving according to the schedule you set up. Those evening messages probably won’t be time-sensitive. 

Use an autoresponder.

When you have an auto-responder, an email reply goes out whenever you receive an email, even if it’s during regular workdays. The email states your working hours and also explains how long it will take for you to respond to the email. This approach makes the client feel acknowledged and also politely puts forth the expectation that you will not be responding immediately. 

Keep reminding yourself that it can wait. 

Yes, you are conscientious and want to be responsive to every single request. However, this attitude will eventually take a toll on both your mental and physical health. Keep telling yourself that when an email shows up late at night, it will have to wait, especially if you are spending time rejuvenating with your loved ones. 

Remember that you don’t live to work but instead work to live. Don’t disrupt that delicate work-life balance by checking emails when you should be relaxing. 

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