Week four of working from home and while I’m actually quite enjoying the whole experience. However, I really miss the commute to and from the office.
While cyclists and motorcyclists don’t agree on many things the one thing they do generally agree on is that the ride to and from work provides a good transition between office and home. At the end of the day I put on my leather jacket, pull on my helmet and close out the world. Snick the bike into first and a sense of calm descends. It doesn’t matter if I’m on my old VFR with its V4 raspy cam-driven top-end echoing off buildings, the mighty Zed wanting to be anti-social at every opportunity, or the big comfy ST just happy to lope along with the traffic. This is my happy place.
By the time I roll up the driveway, work is a distant memory. And I am home.
Now my commute consists of walking passed covered bikes and into our converted garage (aka the craft room). There really isn’t the opportunity time to switch from one mode to another.
I am lucky that I can close the door and walk into the house which helps but the two are now blurring more and work is creeping into home life. And talking to my team it’s clear that its not just me finding the melding of work and home and the struggle to turn off at the end of the day.
For me I have always tried to keep the two worlds separate and for that reason I won’t have a work phone or look at work emails unless absolutely essential. Work is work, and home is home. Yes I love what I do, but work funds play.
My big wake up call was in 2004, coming home from work a van driver went through a give way sign. I remember plowing into the side of the van at around 60 km/h leaving a sizable impression in the van and certainly ruining my day. Even after all these years the details are still really clear. I remember just before impact thinking to myself … “this is going to hurt“. After regaining consciousness in the middle of the road I remember being surrounded by a halo of people looking down on me with a sensation of cars passing on my left and right. I remember laying there, running an inventory of my injuries … and it hurt. I remember the relief of the green whistle. And I remember the helplessness.
I learnt a lot about myself and experienced many things that shaped who I am today. I learnt just how fast things happen and how dramatically life can change. We always think we have more time, but we really just don’t know. It brings things into perspective. It certainly made me re-evaluate what was important to me. I look back on the last 15 years and I am amazed at what we’ve done, and where we’ve been. No, we don’t have a big house or flash cars, but we have built up a huge cache of memories and experiences.
For some, work defines who they are. While I enjoy work, I’m not really career focused and I certainly don’t strive for that next promotion. Don’t get me wrong, when I’m at work, I’m at work, but it isn’t what defines me. When I clock off, Glen the motorcyclist leaves the building.
At this time of stay-at-home, I can’t even just duck out for a days ride to clear my head so it’s even more important to maintain this separation. So I have been looking at ways to help with separation. I’ve heard of people dressing in their work gear, or rituals of saying goodbye and walking into another room, or locking virtual doors.
The strategy I have started to employ is going for a walk straight after work. Not for exercise (although that can’t hurt) but as an escape. Plug in the earphones, put on some music, turn it up, and hit the pavement. Drown out the voices of meetings, the incessant stream of emails, and the constant tugging of time frames until they are quashed and its just me in the darkness. Alone.
So how do you switch off at this time?