The nice thing about commuting to work is the physical and temporal separation of home from work and vice versa. If you are working from home, you have to be much more conscious about making that switch twice a day – and my advice would be to watch carefully that you always try to do that properly. There might be reason enough to find a little ritual that you always go through on your way from ‘home’ to the work space.
The same goes for the end of the work day, by the way: create a little ritual for that as well. Maybe make it a point to clear the work surface, or do a spot of filing (highly recommended to keep things sorted), generally to prepare the workplace for the next day. This way, you mix the emotional separation with a bit of practical effect.
I know, this talk about ‘rituals’ sounds like new age gobbledegook but you’ll find that not only they can be useful but that you also might already have some rituals in place in your daily life that you are not quite aware of, but do exactly the same job as the ones related to switching life spheres twice a day.
Before finding out about work related rituals, let’s see what you already do that constitutes a ‘ritual’ in this particular sense. Think about how you go about your day. If you have young children you will most likely have a routine to get them ready to go out in the morning: wake them up, get them washed and dressed, feed them and get them ready in time for pickup or leaving. The only way to get this done every day and with some consistency is by following the same routine, daily. Now THAT could be interpreted as a ritual you are conducting for them.
Thinking about yourself, isn’t your bathroom routine in the morning or the evening nothing short of a ritual? The morning ritual is more than just a cleaning and makeup session: it gives you a bit of time to yourself to steel yourself for the challenges of the day, it gives you a short period to check in with yourself and make sure that you are ready for the day. Evening rituals aren’t much different from this, but with an element of slowing down rather than getting ready.
If you think about it, many of your habits have an element of ritual to them, either to give you space to pull you out of the daily hustle and bustle, to consider questions, or to simply have a moment to breathe between busy moments of the day. That could be your habit of going for a cup of tea when you can’t think any more, or sitting and watching the trees outside your window to clear your mind.
Now, let’s see about those ‘work rituals’. That could simply be putting on specific clothes when you ‘go to work’ (and it’s a good way to tell your family members that you are at work!), or start the working day with putting on the ‘work kettle’ and settling in with a cup of tea to read new emails, or shutting the door behind you to keep the home out. Some people play a particular piece of music or start by reading an article related to work, some do a short bout of gymnastics,… it’s up to you to find something that helps you detach from home.
You could even think of something more physical, like taking a 10 minute walk outside, only to return home and settle into your office. Actually, that would do you good on several levels: you’ll get some exercise in, have a breath of fresh air in the process and put yourself into a mind-set of having left the house and gone ‘elsewhere’. Alternatively, maybe you could do a 10 minute aerobics session before getting started with your day’s work or a spot of yoga? How about a meditation for a couple of minutes, if that takes your fancy… whatever works for you to distract your mind long enough to reboot after a short session and fully ‘be’ in that mind-set.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.