You may probably think that bringing unfinished office tasks home with you makes you more efficient, and during the few, much-needed times that you do it, it actually does. However, making a habit of it can be very counterproductive and won’t help you get ahead at all. In fact, it can actually do more damage than good by affecting your physical health, your state of mind, and your personal relationships.
1. It can increase your chances of developing anxiety and depression.
The common reason why people bring home work is because there’s just too much of it to finish within regular office hours. However, not only does this up your stress levels, it also makes you more and more miserable. A study featured on CNN has revealed that people who work an average of at least 11 hours a day were more than twice as much at risk of developing depression than those who only limit their working hours to seven or eight.
It may be best to just leave those files in the office and let tomorrow take care of itself.
2. It stresses out your family.
When you bring home work, you don’t only take with you tasks that can eat up your time with your family: You also bring the stress that comes along with them. “As a psychologist, I see it as a stress cycle,” says Dr. Michelle Callahan in an article on Huffington Post. “The stress at work causes stress at home, and then the stress of neglecting home affects the person’s work performance and further increases their stress at work.”
Do your best to compartmentalize. Once you step out of the office, leave behind the headaches that your job entails. Your relationships need attention, too. When you’re home, be present and consider your time with your loved ones sacred.
3. It doesn’t give you time to recover.
Finding the right balance between your career and personal life gives your body the space it needs to recover after a long day’s work. If work doesn’t end and even invades your home time, your body stays stressed. “When you go home, it allows for the phenomenon of recovery. Not just mental, but physiological,” says motivational speaker Dr. Ken Nedd on Rondale Fitness. “The chemistry of the body will change as you go home and enter a different phase, a phase of relaxation.” When your body isn’t given the time to rest, stress hormones continue to be produced, which can have unhealthy results.
If you’re having a hard time cutting yourself from work, try informing your team that you won’t be reachable after a certain hour. Don’t check your email inbox or your missed calls – or go offline if you have to. It will be hard at first since you’ve gotten used to always being connected, but you’ll learn the value actually taking time to get your much-deserved R&R when you feel its positive effects trickle in all aspects of your life.