Adam Fraser (an author interested in improving work life balance) has recently been investigating the ‘gap’ between work and home and it’s impact on our overall well-being and balance. How we use this transition time between events, which Fraser has dubbed ‘third space’ is critical if we want to be able to shrug off the challenges of the former in order to face the demands of the latter activities. Fraser worked with sales teams and executives on their transition from one sales call or one meeting to the next and found that an effort to ‘shrug’ off the baggage produced better results and reduced stress. Taking this logic further he partnered with Deakin University to see if his techniques could help to improve work-life balance.
“We examined a mixed group of small-medium business owners and corporate employees. The initial survey did not paint a pretty picture, with only 29 per cent of people saying they came home in a positive mood,” he says.
It did not matter how they travelled home, driving or public transport. It had no bearing on happiness in the home. However, the researchers observed people were happier if they had done something else on the way home, such as exercise, socialising, having dinner out or going shopping. This is not a practical option for everyone so they taught the same group three things to practise on the way home from work.
- Reflect - participants were asked to reflect on the day but also to focus on how they had improved as a leader-manager-employee. The research around positive psychology shows that this activity changes mindset and improves mood.
- Rest - participants allocated some time to turn off their brain and be calm and present. This reduced the level of negative neurotransmitters that predispose people to irrational behaviour.
- Reset - as they got closer to home participants were asked to be clear on what their intention was for the evening and the exact behaviour they wanted to exhibit when they got in the door.
“After practising these techniques for two weeks, we resurveyed the participants and saw a whopping 41 per cent improvement in the home.” he reports.
In my mind this is a pretty significant improvement with very little actual effort. I’m going to try to implement it in my day, why don’t you do the same and let me know how you go.