Are you one of those people who lugs a huge bag with you on your daily commute? You know the sort. The person huddled on the train typing into their Blackberry with three big files in one arm, laptop in the other?
Or in the car, laptop safely stowed on the passenger side and a briefcase of client documents for review in the back seat?
That’s been me many, many time but recently I’ve been trying to do it less and less. I find that the load of my take home bag is far more than just physical, it’s emotional as well.
Because the take home bag often turns into a fake home bag.
Instead of actually doing the work I promised myself I would do – usually after leaving the office because it’s too late and I can’t concentrate any more – I leave my take home bag by the door as I decompress.
I cook dinner, I wash up, I make lunch for tomorrow and then I sit down to watch some TV and unwind before I get started…but it’s now 10:30 at night!
There’s no way I can start work on that document/presentation/important email now and give it my best. Better to go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep and go into work a half hour early to kick start it before everyone else gets in.
But while I sleep there’s an emotional millstone around my neck – the fake home bag that’s sitting by the door, silently mocking me, taunting me, goading me and reminding me of my failure to accomplish a self-imposed goal.
So while deadlines are hit and deliverables are…er…delivered on time, there’s an additional strain to my emotional well-being that’s incurred just by bringing something home from work.
No, better to leave work at work and give yourself a definitive break between your two lives. Better to bring balance to your life and to fully decompress after a stressful, busy day than to get in the stagnating habit of bringing work home that you, realistically, won’t be able to devote your full attention to.
Do Productive Work at Work
Don’t get me wrong, there are times when we all need to stay late and take work home with us – just don’t put yourself in the position where it gets into a habit.
Your brain and your body are very similar. Both do well when they’re tested but, in order to improve your mind and your muscles, rest is just as important as a full work-out.
So next time you’re heading out the door, take a look at your shoulder.
Ask yourself whether it’s carrying a take home bag, or a fake home bag and if you can take the physical and emotional burden.