Working from home for half of my working week over the last 20 months has had more pros than cons, by a long margin.
No commute, home comforts, no work “uniform”, being able to play music, more time with family, the list goes on.
However one thing that I noticed early on is I miss that buffer a commute affords me.
By not having that longer time between leaving work and arriving home, I go from work mode to family mode in the 20 seconds it takes me to walk from the bedroom office to the living room, rather than the 20 minutes it takes me to cycle home from the office.
For me, this is just too fast.
I don’t have time to untangle my thinking and focus from work, to home and family, and feel agitated, sometimes snapping at someone unnecessarily.
When I cycle, that time, although short, allows me to leave work behind gradually, and slide out of one frame of mind (and physical space) and into another.
There are ways around it of course, and I could shut down my work five or 10 minutes earlier and use that time to mentally detach from it before I go into the other room, with a change in music or by reading or something similar.
Or I could do what some do and physically leave the house and return a couple of minutes later through the front door, as if I’d been at work at the office.
I remembered I used to have a similar experience after a prolonged photowalk.
Going out on my own for 60-90 minutes was a great tonic and escape from the rest of life, losing myself in nature as viewed one beautiful frame at a time through my camera’s viewfinder or screen.
But then coming home back into daily life too fast undid some of that, I would end up more stressed than when I walked out the door to photograph.
Again, a buffer is useful – and arguably essential – in these circumstances, so we’re not forcing ourselves to shift from one specific and focused state of mind, to another that is altogether different, in too short a time frame.
How about you? Have you found you need a buffer between different activities to avoid that sudden change feeling jarring and stressful?
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