Close the loops

You have had a long day at work. You have had to deal with too many unexpected crises, jumped from one meeting to the next and tried, unsuccessfully, to respond to all your emails.

Finally, you make it home. However, you are exhausted, stressed about all the unfinished tasks you should have done today and still thinking about work. Unfortunately, there is very little left for your loved ones.

Bonjour, in this video, I want to share one simple suggestion to be more present at home:

I often hear leaders complaining that they struggle to disconnect from work when they are at home. In the evening, despite the fact their body is home, part of their brain is still at work.

Moreover, the pandemic has compounded this problem. Ironically most people thought that when working from home became the norm, they would have more personal time due to the lack of commute. Maybe this was true for some, but for many people it has resulted in failure to disconnect from work when at home. I often hear leaders talking about the blurred boundaries between home time and work time.

Even when you are supposed to be in personal time, it is far too easy to check ‘just another email’, take ‘just another call’ or organize ‘just another video meeting’.

My suggestion would be this: spend the last 10 minutes of your working day to close the loops.

What does close the loops mean?

At the end of your working day, reflect on your day and review all the tasks you have left open / unfinished i.e., the emails you have started but haven’t quite finished; the tasks you were supposed to do but haven’t had time to do; the meetings you went to but haven’t had a chance to debrief.

Some of these unfinished tasks you may want to complete if they don’t take up much time. Finish the email that is 80% complete and send it. For the other ones, simply write a list. Capture on a piece of paper all the tasks that haven’t been finished and need to get done over the next few days.

The key point is this: don’t keep open loops in your brain. Don’t come home and suddenly remember about a task you were supposed to do but haven’t, or an important email you haven’t sent yet.

Stress in my experience is not linked to the amount of work you have. Let me repeat this, stress is not linked to the amount of work you have. Stress is linked to all those open loops. Stress is linked to coming home in the evening and saying, “Ah, I forgot to do this, and I need to do that”.

A few days ago, I did a workshop called ‘The Three Simple Steps at Work to Be More Present at Home’. This is one of the points we discussed. If this could be of interest to you and your team, drop me an email and we can discuss further.

This is this week’s Work Smarter Live Better tip. Have a great day.

A bientôt,

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