To one degree or another, we all bring work home with us. For some of us it may actually be bringing home a briefcase full of paperwork. For others it may simply be being unable to unwind and leave the worry of work at the office.
Whether you do one or the other or somewhere in-between, you know that often this causes conflicts and problems within your home.
Achieving work-life balance may be a challenge, but for most of us it’s the key to meeting “quality” expectations both at home and at work.
Many times bringing “the office home with you” cannot be avoided. But if you will spend some energy separating your work time from personal time you will probably find life more enjoyable. While it is rarely easy, there are ways it can be done. Here are some tips to get started.
■ Limit talking about work. Everyone has had a “bad day at the office.” Try to keep it from ruining your evening at home as well. If you have someone there to complain to go ahead and gripe if you can get them to listen. But limit your griping to 10 minutes. You can then return the favor to your listener, again limit them to 10 minutes. If the other listener is complaint-free, then get on with your evenings activities. Let it go.
■ Write down any loose ends. To help keep your mind off work, jot down any office-related matters that come to mind as soon as possible after getting home. You can then take care of it the next day when you are at the office and you will be able to free your mind knowing you won’t forget it.
■ Take time to wind down. Give yourself at least 20 minutes to help you make the transition from work to home. Go jogging, play games on the computer, watch TV, throw the ball with your kids, whatever relaxes you. Just make sure it is something completely separate from your work.
■ Set aside a work place. If you have to bring work home try and set up a work space that separates you from your home life. Ask your family to respect your privacy and in return, limit your time there.
■ Block your work time. If you are forced to take work home regularly, try and block a set time for work. Make this time after you have had your “wind down time” and visited with your family. You will not only be refreshed and accomplish more, but will avoid many family conflicts. When others know what to expect it makes it easier for them to accept work at home.
■ Keep it to a minimum. You would be surprised at just how much of the work you bring home could actually be done at the office. Don’t get into the habit of putting off work during office hours, just because you know you can take it home.
There are benefits to bringing work home with you at times. Unfortunately, all too often the drawbacks outweigh the benefits. You cannot always “leave the office behind” when you enter your home, but you can keep it from taking over your home.
The key to successfully separating the two is to place boundaries and to abide by them. When you do, you will find your life more enjoyable and less stressful.
Jan Kantor offers workplace solutions for issues that concern you. Visit jankantor.com and click on “Workplace Solutions for You” on the right side of the home page. Then ask your question.