Who are you taking into the shower with you?
You may well be asking
this question. The idea for this month’s topic came from a section in a
wonderful book called ‘Living In The Moment’ by Anna Black titled ‘Who are you
showering with?’. Which got me thinking: how many times have I been in the
shower but my head has been elsewhere, thinking about the day ahead, the
difficult conversation the day before? How many times have I brought into the
shower with me people whom I would rather leave outside the house, rather than
in the shower with me?
I mentioned this idea to a coaching client, who said ‘Oh no,
I’ve been taking X to bed with me when I really need to leave him outside my
bedroom door’ or perhaps even at the office door.
we can’t leave work at work, even if it is mentally rather than physically, it
starts to encroach on our home and social life and it can result in any or all
of the following:
- Disrupted sleep because we cannot switch off, which results
in lower energy levels, moodiness, decrease in concentration and effectiveness
at work. Click here to see a previous edition of Inspire or more about the consequences of lack of
- Conflict at home if family (and friends) feel like they
never get a look in.
- Lack of ‘down time’ can lead to increased stress levels which,
again, can have a knock-on impact on performance.
And the opposite is true, if we have good quality down time
in the evenings and at the weekend we return to work feeling energised,
refreshed, relaxed and raring to go.
‘Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever
anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.’
Last year one of my coaching clients
had been through a major organisational change which took out a layer of
management, resulting in a demotion, a cut in salary and a very unhappy
individual. He worked from home in a regional role and was spending his
evenings and weekends either worrying and feeling down about work or catching
up on emails and work, which was impacting on his family life and his levels of
contentment and stress levels.
After the first session with the help of writing
daily ‘gratitudes’ (see here)
and using other psychological techniques, he decided to focus on enjoying his
family life at the weekends and started to play tennis again mid-week. When he
came back for his second session, he said ‘everything has changed, even though
nothing has changed’. Which is actually a common comment from my clients
because the situation which was causing them so much stress and unhappiness in
the past is the same but by using simple techniques they have transformed how
they feel about themselves, their lives, and how they approach their working
and home lives as well. Email email@example.com
for more about my free coaching audits to find out how coaching can help you.
obviously times when we physically bring work home to do. However, it is the
more subtle ways in which we bring it home:
- In our minds – when we cannot switch off our minds either
about the past or the present. The subtitle of Anna Black’s book is: Don’t
dwell on the past or worry about the future. Simply BE in the present.
- In our bodies – tension, holding onto the pressures and
stresses of the working day see here for the difference between pressure and stress.
- In our emotions – if we are stressed, anxious, angry or
frustrated about work or we might be low, depressed and fed up about work.
Either way it impacts on our home life, even if you live alone.
Now obviously if you are excited by work, feeling full of
enthusiasm, you might not resent intrusive thoughts about work. However, if
work is intruding into your home and social life and causing you problems then
you might want to do something to transform this.
How do you bring work home with you: physically, mentally,
'Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.’
Thích Nhất Hạnh
I was talking
to another coaching client who mentioned the following ways in which work was
encroaching on home life:
- Checking emails while watching TV in the evenings.
- Using the mobile phone as an alarm clock and then being
disturbed by the ping of text and emails coming through during the night.
- Waking in the night, checking the mobile to see what time it
is and noticing emails and texts that have come through.
Someone recently told me that one of the bits of technology
(if you can call them that) that would disappear from our homes in the next
decade would be alarm clocks as people use their phones instead. But I
suggested to my client that she gets an alarm clock and turns off her mobile phone
as an aid to getting a better night’s sleep. Perhaps alarm clocks will still
have a place in our bedrooms helping us to an undisturbed night’s sleep.
What can you do to stop technology encroaching on your home
Having worked from home for the last 23 years I am disciplined about
keeping work in the office and to work hours, although I have flexibility
within a structure. However, like everyone there are some times when you need
to take work home or do work at a weekend, or if something is on your mind:
- Manage your mind and mood
like to practice what I preach and, on the whole, keep weekends for R&R,
family time or doing other activities. However, sometimes the nature of work
means that I need to do some work at home or very occasionally run a workshop.
If you find yourself getting annoyed when work encroaches like this, you can
end up being your own worst enemy – being annoyed, frustrated, resentful, feeling
it hanging over you during the weekend. If it results in your mood and
happiness, and perhaps sleep being disrupted, then when you get to do the work,
your performance is likely to be effected and you don’t do such a good job, and
it has also effected your enjoyment of the weekend.
So how do you change your mindset and experience of this? We
all have maps of the world within our heads and these are a nested hierarchy
like an organisational map. Sometimes our lives do not fit the order that we have
in our brains, which can cause undue pressure and stress. When this happens we
need to re-order so that we can reduce the level of stress and threat we are
feeling. For example, if your map of the world involves putting your family
first and you are suddenly faced with a project which is going to eat into
family time, without re-ordering you can end up feeling very frustrated and
stressed by the situation. However, if you re-order and decide that for X
number of weeks your focus will be on the project and then you can re-focus on
your family, it helps to reduce your stress levels.
‘In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go’
If you are
looking for techniques and ideas as to how to manage your mind and mood in
order to switch off from work, and enjoy your home life, then listen to the
recording of my free webinar, here which has more hints, tips and inspiration to help you to do this.