A reality of life in modern day America is that most people have responsibilities both inside and outside the home. While for the most part work home hours and work hours don’t coincide, it is natural to think of obligations to one side while on duty with the other. When you are at work, whether you work at home or a traditional workplace, your employer, employees and customers expect you to be at work and thinking about work. Likewise, when you are at home, your family wants you to think about their needs and not pending issues at the office. However, the reality is that we do not turn off completely just because we are at home and we do not turn off home automatically just because we walk into the office building.
When you arrive at work, you have an obligation to perform your work duties. It is natural that you would think of things that are going on at home for example:
your spouse just got laid off
your teenager is not doing as well as he should be in school
your daughter is having trouble adjusting to her new middle school
you are out of side dishes for that night’s dinner
you have not done laundry in three days
While at work these things will cross your mind over and over again. Don’t try to pretend it will not happen, it will. When it does, use the five second rule. That means, pay attention to the situation from home that has caught your attention, but only for five seconds. Spend five full seconds thinking about the issue from home, trying to find a solution or alternative and then put it out of your mind and get back to thinking about your work obligations. The five second rule allows you to deal with the home issue, put it aside in a rational manner and then get back to the current obligation. Your job deserves your full attention and good efforts so use the five seconds to allow you to get things in order and back on track.
Likewise when you are at home, work issues will cross your mind even though you are at home. There are things from work that will cross your mind. For example:
your supervisor is not pleased with your work and is threatening to have you fired
your co-workers shirk their responsibilities and have ruined the report due tomorrow
one of the people who reports to you has been absent from work and not called in for 3 days
You spouse and children are only moderately interested in these issues. They are concerned with the school work, dinner and laundry. When you are at home, and work issues cross your mind, use the five second rule. Think about the work issue for five seconds and then move on back to your family obligations.
Family life and work life often intrude upon one another, when they do it is important to think about the interruption for only a brief time, five seconds, and then move back to the role you are currently living. So, the question for you this Fantastic Friday is what do you do when your thoughts of home and family get intertwined?