How to 'switch off' after work
Dr Adam Fraser offers some advice for those juggling the work-life balance.
Q. "Every time I have a bad day at work, I seem to take it out on my poor family. Is there a way to ‘switch off’ and leave work at work?" – Jessica, NSW
A. My latest book, The Third Space, explores how we transition between the different parts of our life. The First Space is the role or environment we are in now, the Second Space is the role or environment we are about to transition into and, finally, the Third Space is the transitional gap in between.
We found that what people do in this gap is crucial to happiness, performance and balance. This gap allowed athletes to perform at their best under immense pressure, allowed sales people to handle rejection and move onto the next sales situation with optimism, and allowed a manager to bounce back from a devastating meeting without having punished his team.
In this book we asked the question, ‘Could the Third Space stop people from taking a bad day home with them?’ We studied a large group of small business owners and corporate employees (of which only 29 per cent said they were in a good mood, with a positive mindset, when they came home). We then asked them to do three things in the Third Space between work and home.
- Reflect: This is where they reflected on and analysed the day; however, they were encouraged to only focus on what they had achieved and what had gone well for them.
- Rest: In this step they took time to relax and unwind. Specifically they were asked to focus their mind on one thing and slow their breathing.
- Reset: This is where they became clear about their intention for the home space and articulated the specific behaviours they wanted to exhibit. In other words, how they wanted to ‘show up’ when they walked through the door.
After a month of the participants applying these three principles, we saw a whopping 41 per cent improvement in behaviour in the home.
If you want more balance, just remember to Reflect, Rest and Reset.
Dr Adam Fraser is a performance expert and author of The Third Space.