Leave Work At Work

by Brad Isaac on September 4, 2007

This is an extremely busy week for me, so posts will be hit or miss for the next few days. Along those lines, I couldn’t help but love the post How to leave it all behind you at the end of the day over at Lifehack.org. It is ten ideas you can adopt to make sure work stays at work so your home life is relaxed and you can return to work refreshed.

  • Treat your commute home as a positive time to wind down and start the process of relaxation.
  • Match your journey time with the time you need to relax.
  • Never hurry home.
  • Treat your commute home as your time
  • On a bad day, leave for home early and arrive on time or later.
  • If you need to rant and vent, do it along the way.
  • If you must take work home-and you should treat that idea as you would infecting yourself with a specially repulsive social disease-agree a set time to do it and stick to that agreement.
  • When you get home, pay full attention to whoever’s waiting for you.
  • Always keep your promises.
  • Be firm with yourself.

It makes so much sense to balance work with rest. Especially to someone like me who pushes a bit too hard sometimes.

Do you have any additional tips for leaving work at work?
I’m gonna get back to my evening…

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Guntar September 4, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Well, It’s kinda hard for me to leave work at work. I love doing work at home. I can concentrate and build my FLOW better at home. But I do believe that our ability to produce and generate results are directly proportional to our ability to relax. What matters to me is the ability to rest completely, which I still have some issues with it actually ^_^

Bob September 4, 2007 at 11:08 pm

My office has been at home at least part of the time for the last 18 years, so I have had to learn how to “leave it” and “re-enter” life on a very short commute. Besides the ideas you listed, several that have been helpful over the years include:

***Get a jump on organizing the next day. This allows me to know I have things under control (well, somewhat) and I can let them go until I get back.
***Journal about the issues that are vexing me. David Allen (GTD) calls it mind dumping. At the very least I get it “out” rather than stew about it, sometimes I get perspective while writing, usually re reading it the next day or so the perspective jumps off the page for me.
***Inboxes to zero. Nice trick, makes me think I am up to date with everything that can be done, creating some breathing room.
***Practice forgiveness. This is always easier said than done, but the effort tends to erode my natural self-righteouness, and that is never a bad thing.
***Take a walk. The physical effort drains off the emotional and psychic crap (that is a technical term) that builds up, changes the endorphins (so I’ve been told by people who get paid big money to know about endorphins) and drains some of my aggressiveness.
***When all else fails just say phoooey (or your word of choice) I’m only human and need a few more minutes to get over this.

David B. Bohl at SlowDownFAST.com September 4, 2007 at 11:50 pm

Great post.

I’m wondering how to make your first suggestion, “Treat your commute home as a positive time to wind down and start the process of relaxation”, work for me.

I work out of a home office and my commute is a matter of seconds, not miles.

The way I transition to relaxation, when I choose to instead of ‘working’ more (I love what I do), is to use the last 1/2 hour or hour of my day to turn off – the email, RSS feeds, phone – and to think creatively about where I am and where I’m going. Once I’ve put things into proper perspective, I’m able to leave ‘work’ at work and transition into my private life.

Chris Butterworth September 5, 2007 at 12:05 am

Like the others, my commute is a simple walk down the stairs. But your point #8 is a big one for me – no matter what’s on my mind, and how important it is that I get back to it later in the evening, giving my family my full attention during “family time” is the difference between a fulfilling evening and one filled with angst. The days when I try to play dad, husband, and work-problem-solver all at the same time are the days I go to bed in a bad mood, full of frustration…

Erin September 5, 2007 at 8:13 pm

The commuting tip is the hardest for me, unless I’m on foot or bike. My car is just another stress machine in my life. Grrrrr…

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Brad Isaac September 6, 2007 at 9:28 pm

I think I see a theme here. The key being we need to get away from work in the form of walking and shutting off electric gadgets.

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