You work hard and give your job your all. You take your work seriously and never feel like everything is quite finished. So, it’s difficult to turn it off when you get home. There’s always one last email to check or one more tweak to make on that presentation. If you find it hard to disconnect from work and be fully present at home with your family, you’re not alone. In this article, I’ll share a few tips on how to practice more mindfulness in the home without neglecting your work.
Understanding the Why
In his interview with the Harvard Business Review, Ron Friedman, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, talks about the importance of knowing why we’re disengaging at the end of the day.
He says, “There are studies showing that people who don’t disengage, the people who are constantly checking their emails in the evenings and on weekends, those people tend to be less engaged a year later. And it’s because they’re burnt out. So if we don’t fully log off, we just can’t fully recover.”
Part of being successful at work, and making that success sustainable, is learning how to disconnect from the work itself for a time. Don’t feel guilty for setting aside your email in the evenings. Instead, know that it will help you be more productive when you come back to it in the morning.
Figuring Out the How
In that same interview, Friedman shares three strategies he uses to unplug after work hours:
Place your phone in another room altogether. Whether it’s upstairs in the bedroom or on the bookshelf in the entry way. Keep your phone away from the areas you hang out in the evening. Hence, you won’t be tempted to check your email or message a co-worker.
Use other electronic devices for personal use only. If you have an iPad or other device, use that for things like playing games or listening to music. Remove the email feature so you don’t have access to work while using the device. Designate it for personal, at home use only.
Sometimes, you may find yourself suddenly inspired with a great work idea and just have to write that email tonight. Instead, take advantage of programs that will schedule your email to send the next morning. You are still able to type up the email when inspiration strikes. Yet, you won’t be distracted by responses and end up in a back and forth online conversation with co-workers at 11 PM.
Being More Mindful at Home
Once we understand the importance of leaving work at work and we have a few tools to really disengage, it’s time to turn our attention to the home. We’re here, our phones are out of reach, now what?
Here are 3 ways to be more present at home:
Plan family activities in advance. Amanda Wiss, the founder of Urban Clarity, a Brooklyn-based organizing service, suggests creating “activities that regularly fit into your schedule so everyone knows what to expect and what to look forward to.” Whether it is a family game night at home or going to the movies, scheduling a family activity sets the expectation of being focused on one another.
Practice Gratitude. A really powerful way of bringing yourself into the present moment is to practice gratitude. Kiran Gaind, owner of The Connected Family, says, “Gratitude practices help us to be in the present moment, seeing what there is to be grateful for and focusing on that, rather than on what’s missing or still left to accomplish.” Keeping a daily gratitude list with your family is a great way to get everyone involved.
Cultivate curiosity. It’s important that you take time to really get to know your spouse and children, as we are always growing and evolving. Renee Trudeau, author of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life, suggests that we “try ‘dropping history’ and listening as if you’re hearing this person for the first time.” Spending time one on one with each other is a vital part of being present.
However you chose to spend your time out side of work, make it a priority to be more present. The more you practice mindfulness, the more natural it will feel and the easier it will be to truly drop in and be present. By disconnecting from work, you’ll reap the benefits of success both at home and on the job. It’s a win-win situation.
What are your go-to tricks for disengaging from work? How have you been able to be more present at home? Share your experiences and let’s learn from one another!