How to Keep Work at Work

Written by on August 23, 2013 in Career - No comments | Print this page

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How-to-Handle-Office-PoliticsAs the economy slowly recovers, more and more Americans are finding themselves returning to school, re-entering the labor force, or sometimes both.

In a 2011 survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American between the ages of 25 and 54 spent more time working than any other activity (including sleeping) during the 5-day work week.

Understandably so. Many, if not all of us, remember when work was very hard to come by. But this increased zeal to improve our futures comes at a price.

In a more recent BLS survey, nearly 25% of all Americans do some or all of their work from home, and this was particularly common among entrepreneurs and self-employed workers.

Working adults with children likely spend more time working from home than participating in leisure activity with their families.

The question we have to ask ourselves then is, “What is the point of creating a better future for my family if I am not going to be around to enjoy it with them?”

In response to this question, here are a few tips that will help you keep work at work. Following these tips is not difficult, nor will it require you to make steep changes in your everyday routine.

Give Yourself 10 Minutes

Burnout from a busy day, a long week, or any Monday can deal a deadly blow to any home environment. We’ve all experienced it: you get home, tired, and all you want to do is eat and put your feet up with a good book or the news.

But more often than not, you arrive home to a messy house, noisy kids and dinner still cooking. You feel irritated, unappreciated and claustrophobic.

Before you walk through that door, find a quiet place (likely your car if you commute) and give yourself 10 minutes of silence. Meditation doesn’t need to be long to be effective.

In fact, dedicating a few minutes each day to meditation will not only help your body and mind to relax, but you’ll find more restful sleep during the night and better decision making during the day.

These benefits provide a greater sense of calm and contentment, which your family will thank you for.

Don’t Check Work Emails

Sometimes this is unavoidable, so you will need to adapt this tip to your own situation. For some of us, this can mean not checking work emails after 8:00 pm.

For others, this can be as extreme as turning off their phones entirely. Whatever you can do to limit business communication during home and family time will help you to feel less overwhelmed.

Remember, the majority of these communications can wait. Some of these things might be beyond your control anyway.

For example, if you receive a notification that your website hosting service has temporarily shut down your server for maintenance, don’t spend the rest of the night fretting about it—there’s nothing you can do about it!

Be There

A very smart man once told me, “Wherever I am during the day, I want to be the very best at whatever I’m doing. If I’m at work, I want to be the best salesman I can possibly be.

If I’m at home, I want to be the best husband I can possibly be.” This is a very good mentality to adopt—especially when you wear several hats. But as with any change in behavior or mindset, this can be a lengthy and sometimes difficult process.

Don’t give up, and certainly don’t try to make the change on your own. You would ask your boss or supervisor what you need to do to improve your performance—the same should go for the important people in your personal life.

Edson Senna is a business student. He enjoys applying what he has learned by writing about investing, finance, entrepreneurship, and other business-related topics.

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