In our high-stress society, it’s hard to keep work and family time separate. Work worries follow us home so we’re never free of them. Even though work is such an integral part of life for everyone, it’s essential to leave your work problems at work so that when you’re at home you can be really at home and enjoy quality family time. If you don’t there may be some adverse effects on your children and partners.
In a recent article in the Daily Telegraph. NSPCC’s Childline, stated that last year they counselled over 4000 children, some as young as six years old, because they felt lonely, even when surrounded by loved ones. The founder and President of ChildLine, Dame Ester Rantzen said: “We in the adult world are addicted to being busy and our children and young people are suffering as a result”
Here are some tips to help you leave work issues back at the office so you can enjoy quality family time.
1 – Schedule your day. Plan ahead for how long you’re going to be at work. When you’re “closed” be closed, even if it means ignoring the phone or emails. The world won’t stop if you sit down to dinner with your family and let your phone go to voicemail.
You know that you’ll pick things up the next day, so accept that the work can wait until you get back. Train yourself for this.
- If you have to initially schedule family time or alone time, do it. You’ll soon begin to enjoy the rewards of scheduled time off.
- Turn off your mobile phone, tablet, or other contact devices when you walk in the door. Your messages will still be there in the morning when you start your workday again.
This idea might prove a little tricky for stay at home moms, but learn how to set boundaries for your children. After you put them to bed, tell them Mummy hours are over, and it’s time for you to relax. Most children respect these parameters, and other people who need you will learn to respect your boundaries as well.
2 – Change your clothes. Work attire has certain standards and, when you change into comfortable clothing at home, you give yourself a chance to relax.
- Whether you wear a uniform or business wear, changing your clothes is a mental indicator that work time is up.
- Keep your slippers by the door so you can get comfortable immediately after you come into the door.
3 – Give yourself time to de-stress. You can just sit in the chair, read a good book, or fix a drink. Whatever your method is to de-stress, make sure you’ve spelled out ahead of time that you aren’t to be interrupted until you’re ready.
- If you know you don’t want to be pummeled by your children the moment you walk in the door. Arrange with your family to allow a few minutes to de-stress.
- Use your commuting time to de-stress, especially if you use public transport. Listening to your iPod or just daydreaming out the window can make a world of difference in your mood once you get home.
- Don’t stay in de-stress mode, however, for the entire evening! Still take part with the family once you’ve cleared your mind for a bit.
4 – Separate your work area. As more and more people begin working from home, it’s harder to separate the two lives. To help you distance yourself from work once work hours are over, keep your work area physically separate from your family area.
- Establish your work area in a dedicated workroom, or separate your work area with a wall or a room divider so you’re not pulled back to your work area when you’re interacting with your family.
- If you work with a laptop, don’t be tempted to bring your work into your family space. It’s too easy to get distracted by work when your family needs you at the end of the day.
You’ll find so much peace of mind once you realize that you’re in control of your schedule! Don’t let the boss run your world outside of work. You’ll be happier, healthier and more productive when you take time for yourself and your family. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve!
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Till Next Time
Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor