A couple of weeks ago I wrote about what you could do to close the workday mentally.
In addition there are several other practical things you can do to make for a better transition from work to home while working from home.
Before COVID you had a ritual that helped you to transition from work to home, although you might not have realized it at the time.
Your transition ritual probably had these elements
- Closing of your computer
- Cleaning up your desk/ putting your files on a pile
- Putting stuff in your bag
- Walking out of your office
- Closing the door to your office
- Walking out of the building
- Commuting home by foot, bike, bus, car or train
- Arriving home,
- opening the front door and walking through the door
- Putting your bag down,
- Hanging your coat
- Entering the living room
Although the list of these small elements might seem overly detailed, actually all these small elements are signalling to your brain and body that you are entering a different state/ phase of the day.
All these little actions helped you to close off work and enter relaxation/home mode.
With a most of us working from home, most of these little actions that signal and enhance your transition are no longer automatically there.
So to better transition from work to home you need to design different ritual that will help your brain and body enter into relaxation/family time.
Don’t just stand up from your desk and crash on the couch or start preparing dinner. This is not enough to help your brain and body transition.
Some ideas for a new transition ritual
Every day at the end of your workday:
- consciously clean up your desk
- put some of your papers in your bag and put the bag away
- if at all possible – work in a different room than where you relax/have family time. If this is not possible, than the first two steps are even more important!
- go outside for a walk/bike ride /run- so you can indeed enter your home again, coming from the outside
- take a shower
- change clothes
- do the same activity after work each day so it becomes a cue for your brain that your workday has ended- maybe making music, calling a loved one, doing some yoga or other exercises.
I invite you to experiment with building a new ritual that will help you transition! Check in with your yourself to detect what difference it makes!
Equally, getting up from the breakfast table and start working might also not be a good transition to work mode. What small ritual can you design to mark the start of your workday? Maybe first go outside for a walk around the block? Or…?
Let me know some of your ideas for a transition ritual!