It can be difficult to unwind after long, action-packed day of work. Leaving your paperwork and laptop at the office when you come home is easy enough, but leaving behind the worry, the excitement, the mental To Do list...that’s not so simple. It’s certainly something I struggle with.
A healthy blend of work and life is a top priority of most real estate agents (and really, it should be for everyone). No matter how much you love your work, there’s something in your life that matters more, whether it’s family, friends, hobbies, travel, creative expression, or your cat. At the end of your journey here on Earth, you don’t want to look back and regret not giving your full heart to what mattered most.
So, to help you devote your full attention to your real life—life outside of work—I have some advice for how you can fully transition out of “work mode” and into “home mode” at the end of each day.
Understand that it requires a conscious effort.
You must make a conscious decision that you will let go of work for the day and give your full attention to your home life. And whatever you do to make the transition, it must be deliberate.
An article for Experience Life (Making the Transition by Teri Cettina) shares an important point made by life coach and author Cheryl Richardson: “A lot of us don’t realize that transitioning from one part of life to another takes energy. Work and home require vastly different kinds of energy, and that transition takes a bit of time. Our brain has to stop and shift gears into a new mode.”
Change your thinking.
You might feel like you don’t deserve to turn off at home. This is a dangerous way of thinking. We think we must work 24/7, but that’s just not realistic or healthy, and it interferes with our ability to live a happy, meaningful life. Besides, taking time for rejuvenation allows us to recharge and be more productive the next day. It’s a win-win.
Maximize productivity for no regrets.
One reason why you may believe you don’t deserve a break could be because you feel you didn’t accomplish enough during the day. Prevent this by maximizing your productivity during the day so you can feel accomplished before flipping off the “work switch” and heading home.
To learn more, read 5 Productivity Tips for Real Estate Agents.
Develop a transition routine
Now we get down to the nitty gritty. You must develop a habit (or a few habits) to create a clear boundary between your work day and your home life. Below are some ideas of habits that you can introduce into your day.
Before leaving the office (even if it’s just your home office):
- Pre-schedule a block of time at the very end of each day to tie up loose ends on any important tasks that can’t be left undone.
- Write a detailed To Do list of what you plan to accomplish the next day. This will allow you to relax without worrying that something is going to slip through the cracks.
- Tidy up. Clear your desk as much as possible by putting things away in drawers. Not only will this serve as a trigger to your mind that the day’s work is done, but it will also reassure you that nothing was forgotten under a pile of clutter.
- Spend 1-5 minutes on a relaxation technique. Meditate, practice deep breathing, or just do nothing—sit in silence, acknowledge any thoughts that pop into your head, and then just let them go.
- Avoid political or news radio. Instead, listen to relaxing music, stand-up comedy, or an audiobook.
- Stop for a cup of coffee or a snack, and enjoy 15 minutes of “you time.”
- Unplug. If you’re driving, you shouldn’t be on a phone call anyways (and don’t you dare try to text or send email). Even if you’re a passenger (or if you don’t have a commute at all), take advantage of this time immediately post-work to disconnect from your myriad of communication devices (phone, email, social media, etc.).
- Remind yourself that the life on the other side of that door is what matters most.
The first hour at home:
- Change out of your work clothes and into your more comfortable “home clothes.” (And if you spent the day working from home in your sweats, change into jeans—the point is to create a clear boundary between work and home time).
- If you spent the day sitting at a desk, take a walk with your family or meet up with a friend for an exercise class. The physical activity will energize you for a pleasant evening.
- If you spent the day running across town for client meetings and showings, use this time to rest and recharge. Chill out on the back porch with your partner, take a hot bath, or curl up on the couch with a good book.
I love my work, and I hope you do, too. I hope you work not just because you have to, but because it fulfills one of your greatest passions and adds meaning to your life.
But I also hope you have a life outside of work that you love even more (and if you don’t, please immediately make discovering it your top priority). Covet your home life, and don’t let work distract you from it. An important step in living the best possible life is drawing a line between work and home, committing to not crossing that line, and being mindful of how you transition from “work mode” to “home life.”
Do you have a routine that helps you transition from “work mode” to “home life?”
We’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.