There are two types of people, those who light up the room when they walk in and those who light up a room when they walk out.

When you’ve had a challenging day at work how do you make the transition from work to home? What kind of person are you when you walk through the door to your home? Are you carrying the baggage of the day with you? The difficult decision you need to make. The challenging colleague who got on your nerves. The increased workload that has landed on your desk.  Are you still in ‘work mode’ or have you changed gear?

This weeks email from TED Ideas included an article, Never take a bad work day home again, using these 3 steps. It will only take you a few minutes to read. The article is  summary of a TED Talk given by Dr Adam Fraser  in which, informed by his research, he proposes an exercise to support you in shifting from a work mindset to a home mindset.

How to create the ‘Third Space’

If you would like to explore this issue it’s well worth 17 minutes of your time to watch the TED Talk in full. It will provide you with a 3 step practice that could change the way you make this transition.

Creating a pause

The central premise is the negative impact of ‘dragging the mindset of our day’ into our home life and family/social interactions. Our ability to do this is made more possible by the fact that technology has become so pervasive. We literally carry our work around with us in the shape of our mobile phones and the ability to link directly to work computers. The space between home and work, for many of us, is blurred and the separation more difficult to make. How tempted are you to check your email when you get home? Maybe, you work on the way home making calls, responding to emails, reading documents?

A notion that crops up regularly in my coaching is the idea of inserting a ‘pause’ before giving a response or taking action. The third space is, in effect a pause, the space between leaving work and arriving home. A space in which we make the transition from one mindset to another. It doesn’t ignore the fact that you may choose to work in the evening. It does, however, assert the need to create a period of being present at home, especially after a challenging day, before restarting work later on.

What happens in the third space?

Well, that’s for you to decide. It may be time for yourself or it may be quality time spent with a partner or children. It’s a space in which you become intentional about how you want to show up when you walk through the door. Do you carry your frustration or anger with you or let it go?

The idea of the third space feels like a great metaphor to get playful with. What would your third space look like? Is it a drive or commute home listening to some great music or reading a book? Perhaps time for some physical exercise or a creative activity. It maybe about becoming present with the rest of the family. Thinking about how you would like to greet them when you see them, what you would like to do together.

Something to think about perhaps over as you prepare to leave work today. How do you shake off your work day when you get home and if you don’t what impact does that have on you and those around you?

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