Open Thread: How Do You Take Your Mind Off Work and Offline?


TGIF! The weekend is nearly here. For many of us it’s a chance to step away from the dual monitors and spend time with friends and family and on personal hobbies.

I’ve found I need to choose compelling and flow-inducing activities during my time off otherwise my mind drifts back to work and my body back to the home office. I’ve recently taken up painting with acrylics — it’s a good break from reading and writing — and I like cooking new recipes for family dinner. I can involve my kids in both those activities while at the same time feeling totally engaged with what I’m doing.

Of course, there are plenty of other things to do away from work and away from the computer. My offline, off-work activities include fresh air sports like hiking or skiing, catching the latest movie, or joining neighbors for a potluck.

What about you? What do you like to do to take your mind off work and offline?


Alex Florence

@Sherrilynne: I think everybody needs therapy. I live in Florence, and maybe Italy is a little less stressful and professional…but everytime I come back home from work, I cannot but open my laptop. It’s like a drug :) Maybe we need a little help!

Daniel Ellis

Nice to know I’m not alone. I seriously need a hobby. Problem is when I do get a chance to do something else I always think of work anyway, so I suppose I need to find something that will not allow me to divide attention. Suggestions?


Two things:
1. Know that there will always be work that you cannot finish. No matter how hard or how long you work, there will still be more work because there is always something more to do, especially if you work for yourself. If I’ve worked hard for 40 or more hours this week and achieved everything that was critical, I can relax over the weekend, because there is never going to be a clear stopping point. This is easier in a conventional job than if you are an independant worker.
2. Have things you really look forward to planned for the weekend or evening. Whether it’s trying a new recipe or drinks with a friend or a dance class, if you are really looking forward to it all day, then it will be easier to disengage at the end of the day. This was one of those “duh” revelations to me. I work harder and achieve more in 8 hours if there is something that I can really look forward to at the end of the day. If my schedule is empty, I’ll find myself working later and later because I have nothing better to do.
3. Realize that your energy is cyclical. Sometimes you will be completely wrapped up in a work project but once it’s finished you will focus more on your family. Very, very few people can perfectly balance all the areas of their lives every single day. I give myself permission to be a little obsessed with one project knowing that once that project is over my friends or family will be my priority and I won’t put as many hours in at work. As long as there is an ebb and flow to it, I try not to worry too much that life isn’t “balanced”. If you are always focusing on work then you need a little more ebb to your work cycle and need to focus on point 2.
These are the 3 points that I use to achieve something like balance in my life. It’s always a struggle though and it always seems like balance in my life.

Matthew Cornell

Forgot to add to 1: You have to have the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of the day. Otherwise you might have a nagging psychological feel you’ve not done enough.

Matthew Cornell

1) Make sure you’ve wrapped up work with a sense of having captured everything that’s going on (problems, ideas, status of projects, delegation, etc. – *everythying*), and 2) disconnect from work – email and phone.

1) Requires a system (I like GTD, but any will do). Because our brains are always working (well, usually..:-) also have around a note pad and pen, esp. one by by your bed side. Grab these as they happen, esp. while trying to be present with those in your life, then get back to the living.

2) Requires a commitment to *not* be working, which you should make explicit to your work-mates and clients. For example, not answering the phone after 6pm, not processing email continuously, etc.


I make time , every two days , for a cross -training routine. It clears my mind , and makes me less likely to fall into writters block. I also cook , in the kitchen, from scratch. Putting a burrito in the microwave, and setting the timer myself just does’nt count as from scratch. When I can, I get out into the real world, and after squinting for a few hours, I open my eyes and become inspired by all the three dimensional beauty of the people. That’s where the down time really inspires me to create a more meaningfull project, something that will be beneficial to all those smiling faces.

Bob @ A4F

I work from home and you know the old saying…If you work at home then you are always at work.

Building time into your schedule for family, exercise and relaxation is the key. If you had a boss who made you work through lunch everyday and till 2 in the morning how long do you think you would put up with that job?

Let’s face it sometimes you’re going to have to put in the long hours but just don’t forget to schedule in time for yourself while you’re doing it.


Om Malik

I wish i could say I know the answer, but the problem is that there is no off switch in the web worker world. however, i love reading books so i switch off friday evening to read a nice mystery – currently reading robert rosenberg’s crimes of the city.

Anne Zelenka

@Sherrilynne: if you need therapy, then I do too! I as well find it hard to get my mind completely off work. And the closer I get to a workday, the more I think about it. Ah, Firenze… that might take my mind off it.

Sherrilynne Starkie

Nothing! I just took a four day weekend trip to Florence, Italy. Saturday and Sunday were quite relaxing and enjoyable. Monday and Tuesday were slightly miserable in that I spent the whole time worrying about work and stressing about being out of touch. Do you think I need therapy?


My wife and i love to go for car rides with the kids… Almost every weekends, we jump in the car to a new destination not too far away from our house. The kids like it as much as we do, probably for the same reasons, French Fries !!! We love stopping at a new chip stand and enjoy eating outside…

So there it is… French Fries with the kids…

Have a Great Day !

Chris M Johnson

For me, the best way to get away from work and being online is almost every weekend I try to get out and play a pick up game of lacrosse with some friends. While the majority of us are not in the shape we used to be and we rarely fill out two full teams, it is still a lot of fun to just take 2 or 3 hours with friends. And for those who have a little bit more stress from the work week, it serves as a great way to get out aggression.


reading this at 1:04 am while doing work on a friday night.. whats this “off work/offline” you are talking about.. seriously, I have to be on a holiday without my laptop to be offline.

or walking with my 2 year old daughter, which is the best thing ever.. (beats even team fortress 2)

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