Leave it At the Door

It can be incredibly easy to pack up the stresses and mental strain of your work along with your coat and bag, and bring it home with you.  While sometimes working in a different space, or in a place where you can be more comfortable, can help bring amazing breakthroughs.  However, it can often, and it’s not hard to tell the difference, result in setting up mental roadblocks from overthinking, and can bleed over into your relationships outside of work.  Here’s what I try my best to do to counter this when I can:

  1.  Keep a record of your work, be it a lab notebook, some form of daily checklist, or a detailed calendar.  Sometimes being able to see incremental progress on paper at a glance can help to put work difficulties into a broader perspective.  It’s easy to get tunnel vision.
  2. Communicate clearly with the ones you care about.  Most people that we care about can recognize when we’re upset, distracted, or just have a good old fashioned bad mood.  They want to help you where they can, and it’s okay to ask for some space on the subject, but you have to be forward and kind.
  3. Acknowledge that it’s going to be a long term effort to build a better work-life balance.  You’re not always going to get it right, but you can’t assume that it’ll suddenly come automatically, just because you know it’s a problem for you.

What helps you define your work/life balance?


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