I recently conducted a two-question survey to find out what my readers would like for me to write about in my “Fantastic Friday” posts on my Facebook page. This was great because the purpose behind my Facebook page, as well as this blog, is to connect and serve you. If you participated in that poll, thank you!
In response to my survey, one of my readers, a busy, successful entrepreneur, married to another busy, successful business man, asked, “How does a couple reconnect when they both come home on a Friday night with their heads stuck in their individual business worlds?” She made a specific request for tips on speeding up that sometimes awkward transition process from being in work-mode to unwinding back into a couple and family. This is a great question and a topic I am happy to address.
Successful people know how important it is to make time and space to tend and nurture good business relationships, so they make it a priority and do it on a regular basis. This is the same principle that helps every relationship to grow and thrive, so apply it at home as well!
It is unlikely that you would burst into your work office and immediately spend the next 45 minutes raving or ranting non-stop about all that went on with your spouse, your children and your family pets. And yet, how often have you come home from work or out of your home-office only to greet your partner (or be greeted) with a recount of your business day or perhaps the whole week, in what feels like real-time? No matter how awesome or how awful your work week was, trust that your significant other, not to mention your children, your cat or your dog, are not really up for reliving it all again. They want to have you, your focused attention, your complete presence in the moment with them. You know, just the way that you ask them to understand that when you zone-in and focus on important work, you need time for just that.
Of course, it is important to share about your work so that your family knows that by supporting you, they have a role in your success and in your life’s journey. After all, can a truly successful life be built on one-sided business success?
Ok, so let’s cut to the chase and to the tips for making the weekend transition from work-mode to engaged partner, parent and/or family member.
1) COMMUNICATE: Communicate your desire for full presentce and engagement with your family. Letting them know that this is important to you, strengthens your commitment to make it happen and encourages their support and participation.
2) DESIGNATE: Allow a specified amount of time for sharing about your work week and agree that after that time has ended, work-related things go into week-end hibernation. Try envisioning that you have a specific space for this. (Yes, I am telling you to put any work-related thoughts into an imaginary box, bag or on a shelf.)
3)PLAN: Yes, really, have a plan! For some reason, I have seen it happen time and again, that some of the most plan-oriented, project-minded, strategically prepared business people, somehow forget that these same wonderful skills can also serve you wonderfully outside of work. For most people, Friday and weekends follow and incredibly predictable pattern, so use that knowledge and plan ahead. The next Friday, is almost certain to follow. Get everyone involved. Ask your partner and other family members, what they would specifically like to do on Fridays. Be creative in the decision making process: draw ideas from a bowl, roll dice to determine who gets to decide this Friday, play Tic Tac Toe or simply go in roll call order.
4) RITUALIZE: Create a special Friday ritual. Even the best ideas and plans are not viable if there is no space or time reserved for them to happen. A ritual is simply another kind of plan that you will follow every Friday. Create a ritual, write it out, hang it on the fridge or send to each family members i-devices. It might look like this:
Our Family Friday Kickoff (beginning at 6:00 p.m. every Friday)
- Meet around the coffee table for a cocktail or milkshakes. (You may decide to designate a rotating Friday drink master or “host/hostess”, who prepares the drinks and has things ready & waiting or just make as you go. Do what suits your lifestyle.)
- Share the weeks “Highs & Lows” (Depending on the size of your family try 5 to 10 minutes each. Be sure that each person ends on a high or something for which she is particularly grateful. A great way to get into the weekend mindset is to have each person say what this time together as a couple/ family means to them. At the end of the round each person puts the work/school week “away” until Monday or some other agreed upon time.)
- Follow the plan ! (Enjoy dinner at home and a rental movie, board game night, going out to dinner, mini-golf, whatever.)
5) PRACTICE: Keep at it! Now that you have committed yourself to really being present and engaged so that you can tend and nurture your personal relationships, really allow yourself to enjoy these precious hours. After a few Fridays, the transition will be so fluid and effortless, you are likely to exit work mode, before you even close your office door.
So these are my tips for getting out of the work-week mindset quickly while simultaneously tending and nurturing your relationships. How did I do on my first 100% reader-requested post?