REFLECTION: Clients often ask me, “How can I put some distance between my work concerns and my personal life?”
So I was intrigued when one of the Overload Survey respondents commented that he had learned to separate work from family life and turn off the ‘static’ of work when he gets home. I wanted to know more. When I inquired how E had accomplished this, he described a process that partners specific actions with sound intentions.
When he arrives home, E puts at a distance those distractions that might divert his attention from his family. First step: he stashes his Blackberry on his desk – far from sight and out of mind.
Having disconnected from work in a very tangible way, his next action is to deliver a warm greeting to his family. He connects with them about the events of their days without dumping a truckload of details about his own workday challenges.
Then he jumps right into family projects and activities. Projects could range from lawn care, construction, and maintenance to computers, sports, and school activities.
Mentally focusing attention on his family and physically engaging in activity related to his home are key. Somehow the office issues slide into the background until the next day when he shows up again for the grind.
ACTION: E is really cultivating the art of ‘moving towards’ instead of ‘pushing from’. He is intentionally moving toward his family and personal life without first having to resolve or clear away all his workplace issues and loose ends.
If this shift is a challenge for you, give some of E’s ideas a try. Get clear in your mind about what you are ‘going to’ and how it might look and feel if you were strongly plugged into your family and personal life at the end of the day. Focus your actions and attention in that direction.
Designate a trigger that signals the shift in focus (parking the car, sliding key in lock, opening the door, unloading your pockets of the day’s flotsam and jetsam, switching off the cell phone).
Plan your first reconnecting step on re-entry. Have in mind a number of options (other than the workplace default) for where to place your attention and action next. See if this transition works for you as well as it works for E.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “More powerful than a push is the gentle magnetic pull of a big idea and a common purpose.” – Wilfred Peterson
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: And now for those of you who might be thinking that chewing your food takes too darned much time, here’s something totally bizarre.
Check out this ‘tongue in cheek’ take on multitasking and fast food – a two minute video clip called: New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less