Menu Join now Search

Seven Tips on How to Leave Your Work at Work

There’s a wonderful saying, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” Effective professional women are busy women—who can organize, multitask and deliver. The workload requires so much focus and energy that, by the end of the day, few women have the mental reserves to unwind, defuse criticisms or come up with Plans B, C or D. Here are some tips to prevent bringing home workplace woes.

  1. Set aside time to decompress. It takes time for the brain’s neuro-hormones to “re-set” from overdrive to cruising gear. Speed up this process by enticing the brain to calm down. If you use public transportation, plug in your headphones to soothing music. Try Chopin piano pieces, smooth jazz or love songs. If you’re in the car, tune your radio to the stations that play this kind of music.
  2. Get solution-focused with criticisms and unresolved problems. Ruminating about your mistake or fuming about the incompetence of your boss and colleagues will sustain your stress and keep you in reverse gear. Instead, move forward and develop proactive solutions. Jot down your ideas on the ride home or speak them into a recorder when you’re stopped at red lights. By developing plans, you trigger a sense of control and diminish the power of the evil twins of depression and helplessness.
  3. Don’t call everyone on your speed dial to review all the events at work. Instead, pick one person whose opinion you trust and run some of your proactive ideas by him or her. If your trusted work advisor is your spouse, call and ask him ahead of time if the two of you can carve out some time to talk about your work problem. Be sure to ask him how his day is, too. If he’s in similar crunch and crisis mode, don’t panic and continue to develop your solutions.
  4. Review how you spend your time at work. We all need “down time.” Even a few minutes away from a project can refresh us. However, when I asked a large group of professional women to write down how they spend time at work, they were surprised at the amount of time they spent on personal calls and Internet surfing. Get stingy about your free time. Use that time at work to work—so you don’t bring as much of it home.
  5. Learn to say no. In the same group of professional women, I asked them to write down the things that in the past three weeks they said yes to at work when they wanted to say no. You don’t have to be part of every committee or volunteer project. Prioritize. Choose activities that directly relate to your specific assignment. Using free time to attend meetings that include upper management will maximize your exposure. Find relevance to your current work.
  6. Prioritize, organize and delegate at home. Give up the idea of perfection. Your family won’t fall apart if all the laundry isn’t done—or done perfectly. Develop expected tasks and responsibilities on a regular, ongoing basis. Children respond best with structure. Decide who sets the table, puts food in the oven or washes the dishes. Help with children’s homework—don’t do their homework for them. Use that freed up time to be with your spouse.
  7. Hug and kiss your spouse and children as soon as you get home and again before bedtime. Human contact, especially amongst loved ones, is one of the fastest most effective ways to kick in the hormones that soothe.

By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish for