Work and Play, Night and Day?
Posted by LeanCTO
Having an interesting and challenging job usually comes with a price. Any unfinished business you may have at the end of the day, stays with you when you leave work. Even if it’s difficult, you should always try to separate work and free time. Or should you?
Where do you draw the line between work and home? Wherever you are, you are still connected to people via email and a range of social networks. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn? You name it, there is a digital device within ten feet that’s got it. Chances are your contacts blend into a cocktail of friends, work related connections and a few that are somewhere in between.
The hard line between work and play was always an artifical one, and now more than ever. How do you expect your brain to understand if a thought “belongs” at work or at home? It just can’t. Your mind worries about your business problems and the fact that your house needs to be painted on equal terms.
So what to do? Use GTD or similar systems to ensure that you can put a placeholder for unfinished work in a system you trust. Wether it’s related to work, home or family doesn’t really matter. Talk to your significant other about work. “How was work today?” should be more than a polite greeting. Take interest in, and talk about work related problems as well as personal issues. It’s easier for both of you to move on and “let go” of work, if you take time to discuss it with someone who has a healthy distance to your daily challenges.
I’m not saying you should think about work 24/7. It’s important to maintain some kind of balance, and preserve the sanity of both yourself and those around you. Spend some time with familiy and friends. Get around a bit by walking the dog or mowing the lawn. Maintain coordination by playing darts (on your xbox kinect of course) or building model airplanes.
I’m not telling you to actively work from home during the evening. Make sure that spending your evening hours on office problems is a choice YOU make, and not a requirement set by your boss. My main point is that you can’t expect your brain to shut down all work related thought processes the minute you park the car outside your house. Don’t beat yourself up about checking your email or being excited about an important meeting tomorrow. Hopefully you have a job you enjoy, it’s only natural for your mind to keep solving problems when you come home.
Most of us have an increasingly result oriented job. It’s less about where and when, and more about what and how. Seeing as you solve the problems of tomorrow while watching CSI in the evening, your boss surely won’t mind that you check Facebook or answer a personal email during the day. Flexible work arrangements done right, means weight off your shoulders both at home and at work.
Juggling work and play “correctly” so that you avoid stressing out yourself or your family isn’t easy. You need to figure out what works for you, within the boundaries set by both your boss and your spouse.
The bottom line is that we can’t focus eight hours straight anyway, so if you think about it: Maybe a little bit of work at home – and a little bit of play at work – isn’t such a bad thing after all?