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How do you manage your work outside of the office?

5 min read


The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council, an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and e-mail lessons. Read previous SmartBlogs posts by YEC.

Q. When you go home for the night, it is often difficult not to take your work with you. With that in mind, how do you manage your work outside of the office?

1. Set priorities and stick to them

Decide what’s most important to you and stick to that. If being home for dinner every night with your wife and son is important, make sure that happens every night. Set a time to purposely put work aside and focus 100 percent on the other things or people you value in your life. And most importantly, stick to it — no exceptions! — Tim Jahn, Matchist

2. Erase boundaries between work and play

When I decided to start a business, I knew I was signing up for a life of work-life integration, rather than work-life balance. The core requirement of having a happy work-life integration is loving your work, and because technology is enabling all workers (not just entrepreneurs) to have work-life integration, loving your career is now important for everyone in the workplace. — Lauren Friese, TalentEgg

3. Create commitments outside of work

Creating non-work commitments is one of the best ways to take a break from work. During the winter, I played in an Ultimate Frisbee league that had a game every Tuesday or Thursday. I’d make attending the games a priority, and I knew during that time my mind would be focused on something other than work. The next day, I’d come to work recharged and full of energy and ideas. — Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Test Prep

4. Make a checklist

Create a checklist of what you would like to get done at home. Then, cross out two-thirds of it so it is manageable. Have the mindset that your goal is to help ease pressure off the next day,  not to finish every outstanding project you have. If your expectations aren’t realistic, you’ll get overwhelmed and end up falling asleep on the couch watching reruns on TV. — Adam Stillman, Ditto Holdings

5. Ditch the computer

My laptop rarely comes home with me after work these days. Just because emails come in 24 hours a day doesn’t mean they have to be answered 24 hours a day. The same goes for tasks. I found out the hard way that working around the clock can become counterproductive. Set your working hours, work as efficiently as possible, and enjoy some time to recover. — Nicolas Gremion,

6. Set times to cheat

Setting boundaries or times to cheat is essential in managing a work-life balance as a co-founder. For me, it’s 15 minutes before bed. I spend the 15 minutes before bed allowing myself to review e-mails that have come in since I’ve left work. Until then, I try my best to invest my personal time at the gym, enjoying dinner or catching up on interesting articles I’ve flagged during the week. — Kim Kaupe, ‘ZinePak

7. Unplug on nights and weekends

I try to unplug for my nights and weekends so I can be present with my family and friends. But sometimes, I do rely on my iPhone in a pinch if I get a sudden urge to check my email or contact someone.

Joe Barton, Barton Publishing

8. Use routines to unplug

At the end of every day, I take the completed items from my to-do list and send them to my partner. It sounds silly, but once I send my daily recap email, my work brain shuts off for the day and I feel like there is no sense in completing anything else because my recap email has already been sent. The remaining to-do items will be waiting for me the next morning to prioritize and complete. — David Gardner, ColorJar

9. Schedule your personal life

Reserve set times in your schedule for activities that allow you to recharge and add value to your life, such as daily exercise, a weekly date or a social night. Reserve time for family activities and vacations. You will not only look forward to the time out of the office, but you will have extra motivation to manage your time well so you don’t have to cancel on others or yourself! — Doug Bend, Bend Law Group, PC

10. Understand social boundaries

There are certain places and times when you just can’t work, such as at dinner with family members who you don’t get to see often. I make a point of respecting those social boundaries — even if I’m willing to work just about anywhere. This offers an opportunity to get away from work; a dinner invite guarantees that I’ll take a couple of hours off. — Thursday Bram, Hyper Modern Consulting