Have you ever struggled to leave work at the door when you get home? I’ve found it especially difficult now that work fits in our pockets. Here’s a ritual, physical habit and life hack I created to trigger a mental disconnect and transition from work mode into home mode.
A few years ago I moved to a new town, adjusting to a new gig, and I was bringing a lot of stress home from work. I had a hard time turning off my work brain, especially when I felt I hadn’t made a meaningful dent in the day. When I’d arrive home, or even claimed to be off-work, I was grumpy, anxious, distracted, obsessed, and stewing over the challenge. And my wife confronted me about it…on more then one occasion. And after being honest with myself, I came up with an important ritual to help me get out of work mode.
I created rule wherein I’d take off my shoes and leave them at the front door, a physical cue to remind me that I’m leaving my work-area, my work stress, and worry at the door, and entering my refuge. You may already take your shoes off when entering your home, but do you think of it as a ritual of shedding the troubles of the work realm as your transition into the home realm?
Now doing this didn’t make me ignore my work stress completely, but by using the physical cue of taking off the shoe, I was able to remind myself of the intention, and expectation of the transition, that home is a place to relax and recharge. That little reminder, helped me become more mindful of my attitude around the house, and the home environment I was promoting. This simple thing is a little slice of zen, a mindful, intentional habit anchored with action, helping me design a better home experience.
I got better (not perfect) at how I operate at home, my thoughts, speech and behaviors, and more importantly than all of that, the concept gave my wife and I a better way to talk about how we bring work at home, and have larger discussions about the home life we want to have. I even lose my shoes on dates with my wife, to remind me and show her I’m being mindful.
My wife, a busy person as well, picked up the habit too, and it’s something we do together.
I work like most people, a traveling nomad, between home, office, client site, and the corner cafe. This is a simple practice you can add to your life, you just need shoes and a place you call home to get started.
This one habit may not solve all your problems but I hope it will help bring more awareness to your environment and the attitude you want to cultivate and promote in that environment. If you have any questions or comments -please leave a comment.