Leave it at the door, please

Worry. Stress. Bad mood. Work. Leave it at the door, please!

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While the summer is coming and the pace of life is continually adjusting and changing, there are certain things… what aren’t worth mentioning right now… that just adds to the load of stress that follows you about. What does one do when going through a tough chapter filled with stressful moments?

Compartmentalizing: Leave it at the door.

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This life, adult life, is filled with so many things to keep the mind occupied. It is constant stress. It is constant pace. It is constant tug of our time. And to make things even harder, we’ve got to switch from one part of life to the next as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

The people tend to take out the brunt of the emotional load out on the very people we love. We come home angry. We yell at those we say we love. We hurt the ones we love way more than we hurt anyone else. Why that is… is outside the scope of this blog post

It is not fair and often times not right to dump on the ones we care about… the trash we bring home from strangers and acquaintances. There has to be a way to keep that outside the door of the house.

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Takes practice

In fact, there is a way to keep things out of the house. It’s a bit of mental focus and fortitude necessary… but so worth it. Nothing sours the moods of those inside the home than you coming in and barking off your stress on them. So, what’s the trick?

Let’s put it in a mini-story context. As a photographer, one can be asked to do photos for any number of people. Many of them very attractive. Nothing kills the reputation of a photographer faster than one who is not professional enough to not mix his/her photography with pleasure. In other words, as a male photographer, I can not afford to ever allow my feelings to mix in with my art with regards to an attractive model.

I have learned to be oblivious to how pretty the model is or is not. I’m there to create art and get paid. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Just like the model is there to create their art and move on with their lives.

That ability to separate things into compartments is what I’m talking about here.

So, how do you do this practice thing? What’s this practice thing anyway?

Some call it mindfulness… others call it being present… some even call it being of singular focus… whatever you call it… for me… it’s boundaries. I do work at work. I do play where I play. I have places for certain activities. I protect these boundaries pretty aggressively. Not always successfully though. Things happen.

When I’m with my children, my phone is not on my person so I’m not tempted to constantly text people, call people (who does that anyway), or hang out on social media. Not going to say I get this right every single time, I don’t. But, I do make a point to have my phone away from me 80% of the time. Especially when it’s homework time for them.

When I leave work, I tell myself that the day is done, this chapter is closed, all will be addressed tomorrow. I’m one of the last people on my team who refuses to have the work email on my phone. Until that affects my performance evaluation, I will not take email home.

Whenever I meet people and we have to collaborate and work together, I volunteer the time blocks I have that will work for us to communicate, so they’re not surprised when I don’t reply to their text messages around the time my children have dinner.

Last thing I do, as I wrap up my commute heading home, I walk a few extra blocks than necessary, just to create space and time to let my mind decompress and shut off. Why? As soon as I get in, I’m now back to full time parent. The kids aren’t going to wait for me to put my stuff down and unwind. I have to come in totally unwound. Is this easy, nope. But worth the effort.

Today, when I get home, it takes me all of the time to put my bags down, wash my hands, and say hello… and I’m no longer in work mode. Took years to perfect this. Before that, work followed me home and home occasionally followed me to work. Now, neither crosses easily over.

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Leave it at the door, a good policy to have for sanity

Not everyone has the luxury of having clear clean lines between their personal and professional lives. The balancing act is a constant state of flux. I won’t have this luxury for long and have not had it for long. But the struggle… oh how real it is… will continue for the sake of my sanity.

What’s your ritual for unwinding and changing gears with the various chapters of your life?

2 thoughts on “Leave it at the door, please

  1. Something I have been practicing for quite sometime. People sometimes feel I’m disconnected when I do this, but for me I am more connected than they realize. Personal and Professional time are hard to compartmentalize, but for me very necessary. As you indicated, we are all humans and I have had the lines crossed. Amazing when that happens, how much more focused I become.

    1. It is a tough line to negotiate at times.. but it can greatly improve connections for sure.

      Plus, I feel it adds a sense of security in relating to people. People can depend on you to be available when you say you are… and know not to disturb you when you’re not because you’re actually busy doing something different.

      Keep up the practice! 🙂 it is well worth it

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