During a scheduled coaching call, the CEO asked me, “can you help me when my personal life comes to work with me and interferes with my performance? I had a scuffle with my spouse this morning and am struggling with focusing at work.” I smiled inside as I could relate to this very real dilemma. Through my own experiences of this quandary, I developed some techniques that were helpful.
How many of us have struggled with the same issue? Stress as home can impact our performance. Depending upon the severity, here are some suggestions on how to regain your workplace mindset.
· I recommend, using some form of meditation app. Many of my clients have taken my suggestion and use Headspace and enjoy this app. Another software program is emwave from HeartMath. HearMath has developed programs to help you get out of your head and into the heart. Taking 10 minutes to “clear your head” by using a meditation app promotes calmness, clarity, flexibility, and adaptability. (I highly recommend both of these as I have used them for several years).
· After your 10 minute meditation, create a list of tasks that need to be accomplished from the most important and immediate first, to the least and can wait item. Often, when we are overwhelmed with emotions, it is hard to decide where to begin. Performing this exercise brings your mind into a framework to start working and in an organized fashion.
· Decide to concentrate and devote 45 minutes to the first task. Breaking up the work in these increments gives you a feeling of control and makes the task appear more manageable. Try to eliminate any distractions so that you can dive in and apply yourself fully. During your break, take time to walk around, talk with a peer, and inquire how they are doing so that you are “other” focused. Take time to notice something about them or their work and then pay them a compliment or an appreciation. Being “other” focused in this manner takes you out of the emotional part of the brain and gives you a sense of wellbeing.
· If the situation is severe and overwhelming to the degree that you know you cannot focus on work, talk to HR or your superior or text your coach, and decide if taking a personal day is more productive. At times the issue is more than we can handle and we all need to talk through challenging personal issues.
· Taking care of your-self is important. Plan a massage after work or take your-self out to dinner or meet with a friend. Having something to look forward to can help relieve the stress.
Maintaining a sense of composure at work during difficult personal challenges can be accomplished. Following the tools I have mentioned can improve your focus and clarity, which will help recover your performance. What I have outlined is a way to discipline the mind. Vince Lombardi explained it best when he wrote, “Mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self-denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind – you could call it character in action.”
I appreciate your comments and feedback. Please share techniques that you use that have helped you recover your workplace mindset when your personal life has interfered.