Whether you work for a company in an office, work at home, are an entrepreneur, or work to manage your home, it can be really hard to turn off work when family time arrives.
Especially when we are passionate about our jobs, we tend to keep thinking about work throughout the day. We think "oh, I need to email this person", or "I have to write that article", or "I need to promote my business." With the amazing capabilities of our phones, it's easy to take a second here and there to check email, or write a quick note.
The problem is that what we think is a quick inconsequential moment of work, feels like a significant lack of attention to our friends and family, especially our spouses and our kids. These special people need and deserve our full attention, not a mom who is constantly distracted.
There are certain things we can do to minimize the distraction we feel from work when we are having family time.
Create an End of Day Routine
Just like you have a morning routine and a bedtime routine, you should create and end of the work day routine. This is true whether you work a 9-5 or you create your own schedule.
When you are done for the day, make it a point to check and respond to any important emails. Note where you are in any projects you are working on and where you need to start the following day. Also, make sure that any calls have been made.
The goal is to end the day without any loose ends. You want to end the work day knowing that your tasks have been completed, people have been responded to, and any unfinished work can wait until morning.
In the beginning you can create an end of the day checklist of things to check and wrap up before you shut down for the day. This should become habit over time, but at least at first, it will help you feel sure that everything is done.
Create an End of Day Mantra
This may seem a little woo woo, but it works for a lot of people. Create a statement that you repeat to yourself at the end of the day to reinforce to yourself that there is no urgent matter left undone. It can be something along the lines of "I have put out all the fires, and I have responded to everyone I need to respond to. There is nothing urgent left undone. I am done for the day."
Stating that you are done for the day is super important. You want your mind to really believe that it doesn't have to think about work until the start of the next work day.
Keep a Note Pad Handy
If you do find yourself thinking of something to do, or to try, or to check, write it down. Ideas can be fleeting, and you don't want to lose them. On the other hand, it's also not nice to constantly drop family time in favor of work.
By keeping a note pad handy you can jot down the idea quickly and then get back to family. The notes should be enough so that when you do get back to work , it jogs your memory of the full idea.
Each morning when you get back to work, you can complete your most important tasks and then check out your ideas book, and determine if there is anything that you should start working on.
These tips will allow you to more easily shut off work and devote time to family. If you have any tricks that you use, or if this is something you struggle with, let me know in the comments.