What happens in that space between leaving work and stepping in the door at home? Are you able to shut off work and quickly transition to the dog, kids, and dinner or do you feel more like the two halves of your brain are constantly competing for attention?
Creating a time and/or space for yourself to transition from work to home can help you feel more balanced and under control. Here are seven strategies that can help you make a smoother transition from work to home.
1. Create boundaries around your time. Decide on your quitting time. If you are at work outside of the home it could be about leaving at 5pm. If you are at home, it could be whatever time the kids get home from school. Pick whatever time works for you that allows you to physically and mentally leave your work behind.
2. Set a routine for leaving work that allows you to clear your mind and prepare for the next day. Use sticky notes to remind you of the next action on that project. Set an alarm to remind you 30 minutes ahead of time so you can tie up any loose ends and set yourself up for tomorrow. Even if you work from home or are “at home” you can create a routine that allows you to put away the work side and focus on the family side. Kids transition through bath time, story time or certain night time routines. You can use their transition to set up your own special routine or start yours after they are in bed.
3. Get comfy by switching into stay at home clothes on the days that you can. This tells your brain you are home for the evening.
4. Make an evening plan for yourself. Is there something you would like to get done? Use your child’s homework time as your time to get some paperwork handled or send emails. The kids see that you are available but you are not distracting.
5. Plan tomorrow – what will you wear, what will you eat, what do you need to take with you and what one thing can you do either on your way home or during your lunch that will make you feel good?
6. Get everyone in the family to share one thing that is the best, worst or funniest of their day
7. Lastly, take some time for yourself! What simple thing can you do for yourself that will bring you that sense of pleasure? Turn off the TV, skim that magazine, read that book or have a conversation with your spouse over a glass of ________.
Whatever you do, making a concentrated effort to give yourself some time to make that transition from work and the stress of the commute home to your family will benefit all.