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Next-day planning for a stress-free night

Can’t remember the last time you had a worry-free evening? It’s all about next-day planning.


If you are looking for a stress-free evening, it might be worth spending just a little bit longer at work, yes really. Hard to believe, but according to a study published in the Journal of Organisational and Occupational Psychology it really could be the answer.

Workers wishing to spend their spare time out of the office worry-free should plan how they’ll complete unfinished tasks the next day – before heading home. 

Scientists studied how people detach themselves from work concerns and found that those who were leaving the office to go home and hadn’t finished tasks had the most trouble switching off and relaxing.

Study leader Dr Brandon Smit, from Ball State University in Indiana, used an online questionnaire to survey 103 employees pursuing 1,127 work goals.

“If you have an important deadline looming on the horizon, for example, your brain will keep nudging you with reminders, which makes it difficult to get a break from work demands,” he says.

The results showed that participants had more difficulty detaching from work tasks that had been left uncompleted, especially when these were important to them.

However, one group of employees were encouraged to create plans by writing down where, when, and how they would complete these unfinished tasks. These findings demonstrated that they detached themselves from work more effectively than employees who did not create plans.


He added: “It seems like we have the ability to ‘turn off’, or at least ‘turn down’, these cognitive processes by planning out where, when, and how goals will be accomplished.

This is primarily true for people that already have a difficult time forgetting about work during leisure because their job plays a central role in their life.”

Read the full article from MailOnline here: