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Don't Find Balance, Find Meaning: Why We Must Reconnect to our Non-work Life

TIGNUM Thoughts

July 3rd, 2021

Insights from the author

By Chris Males

Recently, much has been written about the possible future of work - remote, distributed, hybrid, etc. At TIGNUM, we see the future of home and non-work life as even more interesting. Will we just slide back into our old status quo? Or will we take this opportunity to create a new future where we are more fulfilled, more satisfied, more connected, and more recharged when we are away from work?

The daily grind of back-to-back meetings, the consistent information overload, and the adrenaline-fueled pace of disruption across nearly every industry can mean that we rarely show up to our simple yet meaningful moments outside of work with the right preparation to ensure we fully enjoy these moments. Instead, we arrive at these precious moments in the wrong performance state, finding ourselves over-amped, too easily distracted, anxious about the work we never got around to today, or so exhausted that we have nothing left to give.

Finding the balance between work and home can often feel unattainable. Developing your mental agility to more effectively switch your focus between the sometimes competing demands of work and home - that is definitely attainable.

At TIGNUM, we think having more fulfillment, engagement, and impact at home is much more valuable than fighting to create balance. We know that applying some simple transition strategies can help you more intentionally move from work to home, from being busy at work to going on vacation, and even from endless virtual meetings to connecting face-to-face.

The world is re-opening. A possible true summer vacation is quickly coming. The opportunity to reconnect with your family and friends in a meaningful way is finally here. But are you ready?

As you get ready to reconnect away from work, we have found a few key strategies to be very helpful.

First, set clear intentions by asking these simple yet powerful questions.

_How do you want to be perceived in these moments? (e.g., relaxed, deeply engaged, caring, fun)

_What do you want them to know about you? (e.g., I am fully present, you are very special to me, I am curious to learn more about you)

_How do you want them to feel? (e.g., loved, cared for, heard, interesting)

Doing this primes your brain for success.

Next, visualize your intentions coming to life. See and feel your posture, body language, tonality, and facial expressions expressing your intentions. Take a minute to practice visualizing what this would look and feel like.

Finally, purposefully create your optimal performance state (OPS). This is the arousal and emotional state where your intentions will be actualized. Imagine a dial that can slide from 1 to 10. A 1 is a state of being comatose. A 3 is a state of calmness. A 7 is an aroused and energized state. A 10 is a state of entropy (probably a little too much for most situations). 

What is the best OPS for you in each situation? Can you quickly shift your OPS purposefully when a situation requires it (such as shifting from an active game to a quiet and deep conversation)? This can easily be done by applying a breathing technique. If you want to amp up, simply lengthen your inhalation and shorten your exhalation (inhale on a count of 4, exhale on a count of 1). If you want to dial your OPS down, reverse this by lengthening your exhalation (inhale on a count of 4, exhale on a count of 8).

While it may not be possible to be perfect (from a performance perspective) at both work and home, it is definitely possible to maximize your impact at both. The challenge is that this doesn’t happen by chance - it has to be a conscious choice. The good news is that this approach is possible and practical, and it can help you create more meaningful moments away from work.


As always, we would love to hear your thoughts.

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