Monday morning practice for shifting mental gears from work to home

Written by Allison Wolf

Law is one career where the obligations and responsibilities don’t easily get put away at the end of the workday. It is all too easy to bring the stress home along with our mobile phones and laptops.

When there is a lot going on it is hard to stop the thoughts about work from intruding into our home time. This is not always a bad thing. Many of us have our best insights in the shower, or while on a run. That’s great.

And we also need time to be completely off work and focused on our kids, or our friends, our life partners, or even our pets.

This Monday morning practice is designed to help you to return home at the end of the day, physically and mentally.

Clear out the mental clutter: Clear your head before leaving the office by doing a quick brain dump of your priorities for the next morning.

Create a buffer zone: Give yourself some time to switch gears. Here are some buffer zone tips to try on your way home:

  • If you take public transit, play a game on your phone.
  • If you drive home, try listening to music and singing along.
  • Run some errands

When you arrive at home:

  • Park the car and before getting out, try a short meditation.
  • Go for a walk.
  • As you enter the front door, pause and appreciate the significance of returning home, and as you shut the door behind you imagine shutting the door on your workday.
  • Take a few minutes to get changed into your casual clothes.
  • Wash off the stress with a quick shower.

Actively listen while at home: Practice being present. Ask questions to hear how everyone’s day went. Listen with your eyes, not just your ears, and give your full attention to the people you are with. When you find your attention wandering just notice, and bring it back to the conversation.

Turn the devices off: Leave your devices turned off for a previously determined period of time, and give yourself the gift of simply being home.

What do you do to make the shift from work to home?

About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at allison@shiftworks.ca or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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