It can be hard holding down a busy job and then leaving the problems, challenges and stress at work – i.e. not bringing them home with you.
It’s easy for your home life to become affected by work, even more so since the big lockdown and many more people are now working from home.
In my own personal experience it’s been my family that have suffered the most when I’ve brought work home. I’ve taken home the stress and drama of the day and I’ve failed to deal with it where it belongs; at work.
This results in me being short tempered and not present. And generally not the husband and father I want to be. This hurts.
Over the years I’ve found a variety of tactics that seem to help.
Here are 5 techniques to leave stress at work – these have worked for me, they may also work for you.
1. Leave your worries outside
When you get home find somewhere to leave your work worries outside of your house. If you work in the house try to have a routine and a place to leave work.
This sounds weird but find somewhere you can metaphorically leave your worries before you go through your front door.
For me this is the dashboard of my car. I’ve heard of people using a branch of a tree, others using plant pots. Whatever you choose, when you get to that space sinply have a ritual to place your hand there and say “done – see you tomorrow”. Cal Newport talks about a verbal routine when he closes his laptop – saying things like “close down” or “finished for the day”
2. 5, 5
I learned this technique from listening to Michael Hyatt’s podcast.
When you get in the house after work, spend 5 minutes sat less than 5 ft from your respective partner / children and actively listen to them.
This is a great technique that’s helped me leave a tough day at work and spend time with my wife and kids.
It’s a way of saying to the other person that you’re listening and it’s a way of connecting with them after several hours apart.
3. Go through tomorrow’s tasks
Before you leave work it’s a good idea to go through tomorrow’s work, tasks and calendar.
This way you’re preparing for tomorrow and can leave knowing you’ve done a day’s work. Remember, there are always more problems and work to do than we have time for.
4. Check emails just twice a day, and not just before you leave work
I only check my emails twice a day (unless an issue is on-going). I check first thing in the morning and then mid-afternoon. By checking mid-afternoon I’m ensuring I leave some of my working day to deal with anything that needs my attention.
It can be quite stressful to deal with issue that come into your inbox before you leave. Turn off toasts, anything else can wait. If it’s urgent, surely someone will phone you.
I journal about the day, my thoughts, my ideas and any actions that are floating around in my head. It seems to be an effective way of dealing with work pressures and family life.
What works for me though, may not work for you, but what’s become abundantly clear is I needed a way of leaving work at work. These may help you too.