Ever get the feeling that your workload is following you home at the end of the day? How not to take work home might be a question in your mind lately.
It might even take on a presence, like a little lost puppy. And if you decide to feed it, oh geez, you might never get rid of it! Taking your work home from the office can quickly get out of control.
Nowadays, it takes discipline and intentionality to separate yourself from your work, especially if your work is done at your home office. I mean, it’s hard to find the boundaries, determine the cut-off point, and find space to actually disconnect and rest.
Whether or not you have the luxury of a traditional commute to and from your workplace, technology makes it all too easy to blur the lines between the home and office.
Meanwhile, your mental and physical health can suffer, relationships get taxed, and stress levels on all sides of the equation can start to rise.
Borders and boundaries can be incredibly helpful in identifying where work and home begin and end, but the reality is that these two often overlap.
Definition and clarity are essential skills, especially for you business owners!
In today’s episode, I sat down with Brian to answer the question of how NOT to take your work home with you. I’ll give you a spoiler though, there are no quick fixes here!
Depending on your personality type, family situation, your role at work, etc. there can be many strings attached to this question.
So, give a listen as we help you to separate who you are from what you do.
Chris LoCurto 0:00
It's easy to blur the lines between the home and the office, especially when you work in a home office. So how do you not take your work home with you that is coming up next?
Chris LoCurto 0:22
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto´s show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. I hope you're having a fabulous day wherever you are. Today, we are continuing digging into some super practical topics and our series of how to episodes actually today is actually a little bit different today is going to be a how not to do something. So joining me on the show today from beautiful Sicily with an amazing view of Mount Etna and feeling the heat from out. Friday, Alex, Brian, welcome to the show.
Brian A 1:05
They say if you can't feel the heat, if you can't handle the heat, you gotta get out of the car. I don't know if you can feel the heat. I don't know what you're supposed to do. To get your point where I can't handle it, though.
Chris LoCurto 1:14
So if you can't stand the heat, get out of katanya one of those things, something like that. Welcome, brother, how are things?
Chris LoCurto 1:23
He's living really close to a volcano.
Brian A 1:32
I'm looking forward to this episode. Because like you and like some of us, we work very close in proximity to where we also live. I don't live on a farm. Although this morning at 6am There was a herd of goats going by my friend. It feels like a farm.
Chris LoCurto 1:54
Fresh milk as they're going by for your coffee. Hey, hold up right here.
Brian A 1:59
As they're passing anyway.
Chris LoCurto 2:03
Just get a little milk really quickly.
Brian A 2:06
But no, you know, this is this is a practical episode, because it's practically where we live. And I'll use that metaphorically. I mean, yeah, that the separation of office and home I you know, and especially for folks out there that have multipurpose rooms, like the room that I'm sitting in, I use it for multiple things. And so there's really no delineation, there's no you know, I'm not hitting the clock and punching out and leaving and physically removing myself. There's no, you know, I used to look forward to living in Nashville, a little bit of a commute, you know, even 15 minutes in Franklin right? 20 minutes was a decompress time. And you know, you get to disassociate what you were doing all day, eight, 910 hours, whatever, and you go home and you have kind of your other life here. It's blurred. I just like what you were saying a minute ago, all those lines are just blurred. So I mean, you deal with that all the time to write out on the on the on the ridge on the farm in the office, and the recording studio that's probably used for other things.
Chris LoCurto 3:15
Yep. Well, and it's funny because our goal with the ridge is to be able to move the whole business here. So going back and forth between what we do at the current building, doing events there and wanting to get a lot of events moved up here, at the bare minimum, the next level lives, the strap plans. But we would love to be able to get the quarter quarterly retreats for Next Level Mastermind up here, even possibly the next level leadership live event. Our hope is to get all that moved up here. So it's this process of trying to get this place set up so that we can move the business. So it is absolutely a farm and we love that. But that's one aspect of what we're doing. But like you're pointing out, it's one thing of the many things that we are running from this place. So as much as we can work here, we work here when we do events and everything we go back to the main office. But then we're also operating, you know, the setup for the move of the business, then we're operating a farm. Then we also operate our other businesses up here. We've got two different types of real estate businesses, you know, but all of that is happening in two places. And it becomes very difficult sometimes if you don't know how to separate work from your regular life and that's something I had to learn early on in my career. And funny thing is is that I never actually knew that I would be in a place where I would be remote. That is something that has I've always been against. Thank you COVID I have always been against the remote because There's so much and I definitely think remote hurts culture to an extent, we've worked really hard to keep culture. But I think it affects it dramatically, but at the same time, man, I can't I look forward to the day that everything is moved very close to where I am. But still, where we're going to actually have the buildings and where we're going to live, are, are a decent amount of distance apart, because we have to separate those. So that is all the kind of stuff that we're going to dive in. When we come back right after this.
Joel Fortner 5:39
Hey, it's Joel Fortner. Here, I'm the vice president of leadership development on Chris's team and I oversee our Next Level Mastermind business coaching program. Most business owners and leaders lack a clear path to succeed in business. They question whether they're making the right decisions, if they're focusing on the right things to really grow their business. If this is you, you need a coach in your life. coaches help you make better decisions, navigate uncertainty lead more effectively, and grow your business without sacrificing your life and your family. In their first year, our clients typically see an average of 67% increase in gross revenue, and an average of 138% increase in net profit and regained hours of time. Our clients stay in the program for over three and a half years simply because of the results they get. So if you're ready to run your business at the next level and see the growth you've been wanting, then visit Chris accardo.com/mastermind. Again, Chris accardo.com/mastermind today.
Brian A 6:40
All right, so picking up on that note, you know, boundaries are healthy. We talked about boundaries all the time. Hopefully,
Chris LoCurto 6:48
they're healthy boundaries. Yes.
Brian A 6:51
They can, let's say they can be
Chris LoCurto 6:53
can be healthy. They can be a waste of time,
Brian A 6:57
are healthy and helpful. Think about you're driving your car, not not here in Sicily, because it really doesn't matter if there's lines on the street or not. But I'll say in the States, it's healthy, it's helpful to have that delineation. And we're not talking about compartmentalizing your life. When we talk about how to separate one thing from another, we're talking about giving it definition, defining work hours and having clarity. Because that kind of clarity, a good kind of clarity gives us space, it gives us our lives, it helps us breathe and take a break. And we've talked about that here. Actually, on the podcast recently, you've gone into how leaders need to have a healthy break, and to take time off and be with their families and all of that. But as as you've, you know, gone through the struggle earlier on, as you mentioned, and you know, you have remote workers now, over here on this continent and other places.
Chris LoCurto 7:58
We have three different countries we're working from Yeah,
Brian A 8:02
we all struggle with that. Because we've got like we you know, we started out by saying these multipurpose environments that we're in and changing gears changing mindsets can be messy. And so Chris, this, this is where we want to just dig in, and you take it from here, but how can someone stop taking work home with them? What does that look like?
Chris LoCurto 8:26
So I'm going to ask you a question first, for clarification perspective, because I believe, you know, being on the same page is super important too. When you say compartmentalizing, what is your definition of compartmentalizing?
Brian A 8:40
Yeah, when when I think about compartmentalizing, especially in the topic that we're talking about today, I think back to a time where maybe my my parents, grandparents, they, they were able to go to work early in the morning, dressed in whatever, you know, garb that they needed to do that job. They had almost a different life, let's say, and they would come home at the end of the day. And there's this really clean disconnect, but also it's almost as if that was a different person. And we talk about this sometimes, in fact, we've got some episodes coming up, where personality styles can be experienced and be perceived differently in different environments. And, and I think there's an unhealthy kind of compartmentalization that can happen. And we want fluidity in the sense that we're the same person that, you know, we're being genuine and transparent and their, you know, their health level. But over here, how do we do that when everything's so blurred? And there aren't those normal boundaries and delineation that maybe there used to be and we could even just point back a couple years ago before COVID and go okay, my life looks like that. And I was able to separate He and I had this commute and all of that. And that was almost a different life and you know, again, that can get unhealthy. But we're talking about nowadays that doesn't even really come into the picture. You don't have the luxury anymore of changing hats and changing gears.
Chris LoCurto 10:15
Yep. So, okay, so with that, I would say for me, I do believe that there is healthy compartmentalizing, there's unhealthy compartmentalizing. Okay, I think this is just, you know, and I may just be off in my definition, I believe that there is a way to, in a healthy way to separate work from life. Now, with everything you just shared, it is so amazing how, like, I feel really bad for the younger generations that they've not experienced. And maybe maybe they have, but they probably haven't experienced their parents this way of being able to go to work and your day is done. Right? It when you and I were growing up, there wasn't email, there wasn't text, right? Our phones were connected to the wall with a with a wire. So it's not like we were when we were done with the day we were essentially done with the day there wasn't a whole business is shut down. When I was interesting when I got into E trade when I got into, you know, working with stock market and everything I was early, because it all opened east coast. But it was amazing to me, because that was a world that some what kind of ran around the clock, you know, different different exchanges were opening up at different times and everything. Now the main exchanges in America still shut down and they were closed down. But there were still things going on, we could still work for hours afterwards. And so I hate that people haven't experienced what that's like to be able to shut off the workday. Now. I'm saying this and realizing that a lot of the people that are listening to us are hearing this message that says, you know, you've got to go bust it like crazy forever in your business, right, you've got to you got to every waking moment that you can, you've got to fill it with somehow a side hustle or, you know, making your business work and all that. And as somebody who's been doing this for over three decades, let me say while working for almost four decades, literally almost four decades, but have been doing business and leading people in that kind of stuff for over three decades. There's a time when that just gets really old.
There's a time where you start recognizing that the hustle or the side hustle has its value, it has its run. But when it starts taking away from your actual life, the things that are more important your family, your kids, your spouse, your marriage, then what you're going to discover is it wasn't worth it in the first place is money that much worth it. It never is it's not more important than money is a tool. If you do things correctly, you can make plenty of money you can provide for your family. But it's a it's a way of looking at what's important. And what happens for so many folks is they go after that hustle, hustle, hustle, hustle, make some money, and then realize they've affected their relationship with their kids, they've affected their relationship with their spouse, and then they're going oh, crap. This wasn't as positive as I thought it was. And what they needed was that disconnect, they needed to be able to say, I have got to put food on the table. This is super important. I'm leading a business, I need to make that business work. But I'm not going to devote 20 hours of my 24 hours a day to running a business and forget what my kids names are, right? So with that being said, before we ever got remote, you know, I used to take a lot of work home, I was the guy who was emailing myself stuff. And I still do that to an extent it's it's incredibly low. I mean, it's probably like once or twice a week now. But there were many times I would do my brain dump, you know, in my email, back in the day, to give myself information of what I'm supposed to do tomorrow. So I had to start learning how it was affecting my evenings I was affecting relationships and how it would keep me from being present. And it's not just me. There's tons of people. So for me, I had to start going through and saying okay, I can how in a healthy way can I compartmentalize the work side? This has to step aside and I need to rest I need to relate by gosh, my worst my relationship with God, you know if those things are coming first, where's my relationship with, you know, the King of the universe who holds my destiny in his hands? Right? So start saying recognizing you know, whenever you say yes to something you're saying notice something else start recognizing the need to put blocks of time in. You know, here's when I do all of my Bible study, here's when I'm doing my prayer time. Here's when I'm doing exercises. Here's when I'm doing, you know family stuff. and create these almost packages of time that when I get out of the main thing it's done. If I have to come back to it, it is small. It's rare. But really, if it's that crazy important that I've probably got bigger issues, right? If I can't shut it off and go, You know what, I'll get to that tomorrow, or, you know, so myself a little note, you know, make sure that you check this out tomorrow. If I can't do that, then I have to recognize how much is my work running my life? Instead of my work being something I do and being a part of my life? Does that make sense?
Brian A 15:38
Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I think we're underlining the idea of healthy boundaries, creating borders, and you know it to break it down into a, you know, like the compartment, if you will, of, of our environment, I have, I have one desk where I do one job, I have a another desk or a table where I do a different job a work that I do, so that I have a trigger, in my mind of leaving one thing and embracing another. And this is what I found for me that if I don't have some kind of a transition, you know, just like I used to have that drive home, I don't have that luxury, I am home. All right. And so if I don't have some kind of a transition, there's no trigger. For me, as far as my habits, mentality stress, being able to say no to certain notifications on the phone, and embrace something else, if I don't have those things, then the lines stay very blurred. And I ended up answering those emails later in the night and putting in hours that I shouldn't in places that I don't have time allocated. And so there's got to be those really helpful, practical, just habitual things that we instill into our environment, whether it's physical locale, or into the time of day, just like you're talking about, we can compartmentalize time, and that's a healthy boundary. We can compartmentalize boundaries, or, you know, work spaces, those are healthy boundaries. And that may be you know, for somebody out there that struggles with that overlap, just like you're saying, and taking the work home, or, you know, continuing to work through the night I thought, you know, remote. When we went remote a couple of years ago, because I was you know, with you guys in the office, I thought oh, well, this is gonna be lovely. I've got all this free time, you know, and actually, after a month or two, we came back to the office, we didn't stay remote very long. But what I learned was, jeez, it's actually more difficult to regulate my time in my home environment. And, and I and the pendulum swung both ways. With that I could find myself working hours and hours and going, Oh, crap, I didn't know that I put in all this time over here and and started noticing the MIS allocation of time. So I think compartmentalizing right there is is really helpful. Yeah.
Chris LoCurto 18:10
So it is important to start taking a look and saying like you like you've pointed out, you've got two different desks for areas that you work with. Now, you you are very task focused, you're both high D, high C, your C often takes over in, I need this detail to be separate. So if that piece working for you works well because it helps you to go. I'm done with that move over here. I think a big thing especially so let's say we don't have families, a big thing for us is to take a look and say what pieces are important in my day, I don't have that commute. Like you said, now I've got free time. I'm not actually driving, it's only 15 minutes to the office. But I daresay there's probably a lot of people that don't get up shower dressed the way that they would do all the things that they normally would eat breakfast, you know, do all the things that they would do before they head into the office, there's probably a whole lot of people roll out of bed, grab a cup of coffee hit the computer, right? So let's just assume that, you know, you've got a little bit of free time back, but it's really not a great amount. What we want to look at is, what do I need in my day now for me and for my wife, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. prayer and Bible study is our number one thing first thing in the morning. Now it is so much better for me. I discovered now, I could exercise better in the morning than I can any other time of day. But for me to do my studying. It is so much better in the morning. So that comes first that's more important to me. You know and then what I do get the times that I get to work out on the farm. I get a lot of exercise in there. So that's great. That is number one. We are taking up that time together spending time in prayer and spending time studying the word that's a must. Nothing gets in that time. It's very rare that we don't spend that quality time together. Business doesn't get in there, nonemergency family stuff doesn't get in, there's just stuff that doesn't Nothing makes it into that time. Because if we don't do that time, then we're not making God that priority. After that, then it's a, it's a matter of Is there things that we have to do on the farms or things I want to get done before we start work. What I think every person needs to do is say, I've got these, I've got to get this much work done in a day, if I if somebody is expecting or paying me eight hours a day, or I'm paying myself eight hours a day, then I've got to look at my blocks of time, not because I need to, you know, hold myself accountable to doing the eight hours, you do need that instead, so that I don't go 12 hours, so that I don't run so long. And I don't get some exercise, I don't eat lunch. I don't you know, I make unhealthy decisions throughout the day, if you will set bought and by the way, and this is an old study, but it's still I believe, a fantastic study, but they did a great study years ago, that showed especially focused on leaders, entrepreneurs, if you knew you were going to stay at work for 10 hours, 12 hours today, if you just knew I'm coming in at seven, I'm gonna work till seven tonight, you actually didn't get any more work done.
Chris LoCurto 21:24
You knew you were here for 14 hours, 12 hours instead of eight hours. So instead, your mindset, okay, relax, let's get work done. I'm going to be here until 7pm Tonight, and the amount of work barely changed, if at all. And a lot of folks that actually didn't change, they just stayed in the office more, there wasn't that let me bust things out. Because it was a you no more laxed environment while at home, what do we have, we have a more laxed environment. So instead, yes, we want to make sure that you are busting your butt for the hours that you're getting paid for. But interestingly enough, if you will block time, and say, I'm going to work for this amount of time, and then I'm going to take a legitimate lunch, I'm going to go outside, I'm going to go, you know, there's a restaurant down the street, I'm gonna go to the park, I'm gonna make lunch and go to the park, I'm gonna do something and disconnect from my work, then a great thing happens, you get some of that rest, you get some energy back, your brain gets to stop sizzling a little bit. And then when you come back, you're slightly refreshed. Let's kick into the next block of time. Now I know, in Sicily, in a lot Italy, they have that, you know that timeframe that they shut everything down, have big lunches, take naps, all that kind of stuff and come back and do work again, right? So if I will do this, and I will set that block a time and then set the next block of time saying okay, I'm going to work until 5pm or whatever. Then I need to say what is my family time if I'm if I don't have family? Okay, well, then do I have other outside interests? It seems silly to think that I need to schedule my outside interests that I need to schedule exercise that I need to schedule going to the movies, which just a drop down, that was fantastic. It seems kind of strange that I would have to do that. But when you don't work at home, and you work at an office and you're driving to that office than when you're leaving, like you were talking about earlier, that decompression time also helps me to go okay, what am I going to transition to, but now that I'm at the house, and everything is here, assuming I don't have family, then there's not a whole lot to transition to right I might just transition into something else right here at the house. I might just keep working. I might be making it very lazy. So instead of it being an eight hour day, it's becoming a 12 hour day. Now with all that being said now let's throw family in there. Now sometimes compartmentalizing your your time slots. You are going to find you know for some people if you're able to set up a home office and tell the kids hey guys you do not you do your schoolwork you focus on this you do not disrupt Mom, Dad while we're doing these hours, then set in a specific amount of time we're working this long, you need to be taking care of you coloring doing whatever doing your schoolwork, you know assuming that your kids are able to take care of themselves. Otherwise, it's strange that you're doing a full time job with with kids that can't take care of themselves, or a whole lot of assumptions in here. And then break it up. So maybe you don't work four hours straight for your work. Maybe you work an hour and a half you come out you spend 1520 minutes with the kids 30 minutes with the kids you come back in you do another hour and a half. You have to set things up and these boundaries like you're talking about earlier of saying I have to have this time so I can have this next time with you. Or so I can have this next time that we're going to go to you know take your sister to her soccer game or are so that we can do, you know, we can have a fun time this evening or so we can have family dinner together family lunch together. As you start to do this, what you will discover is everybody enjoys that together time, it becomes now some people like Oh, it didn't work for me, you gotta keep going at it needs to be healthy, maybe the time slots weren't correct. But what you'll discover is, the more you work on this and fine tune it, what you'll discover is, people enjoy that together times, like when we are doing like a work day out at the ridge. You know, we're working on all kinds of other stuff. But we'll come together, throw some burgers on the grill, sit down, have lunch together, have, you know, discussion together fun times together. And then everybody's ready to get back to doing what they're doing. And we're all adults, right? So, you know, there's not kids involved in it. We're just doing it's a work day, we're just you know, Joe's up here doing coaching calls, you know, Katherine's up here, it's just amazing that we could come together, enjoy that time, and then we go back to work.
So when you train your family, that it's okay for you to have those boundaries, it's okay for you to set up those time blocks and keep in mind, you running for hours straight, may be too much for you, you might need to throw a break in there, work with the family, come back and do it again. You know, make sure you're having those mealtimes make sure you're spending that time together, what you will discover is is that the kids can do a lot of stuff on their own, hopefully not burned down the house, they can do a lot of stuff on their own. They can focus on their schoolwork, they can focus on playing, you can get the things you need to get done. And then when you come together, it becomes an incredibly valuable time together. So just a couple of ways of just saying you know whether you have family, whether you don't have family, making it important to block those times, even if it's smaller blocks, bust out what you've got to bust out, you'll discover you'll get the same thing done in eight hours that you were getting done and 12 hours at work. And then you get to spend that time with family, your spouse, you know, your Bible study time studying something else, whatever it is. So that's what I feel like, we have seen the best success, especially with people who have families that have to, you know, juggle everything at the same time, putting it in good quality blocks, everybody understands, and that it makes for really good family time together.
Brian A 27:24
Yeah, that's great. Now, that's a great reminders, you know, we're talking really about budgeting our time wisely being good stewards, we're talking about focus, priority, even like you were saying about recognizing what your peak performance hours are, and making sure you're doing the right things at the right time. And you've got a priority for spending that time in the scriptures and in prayer at certain times of the day, because that's when it's important to you. And then recognizing, you know, for some people out there, I'm more mentally awake at this time or less. So at this time and knowing where to put that block of time in, I think we're going to find that we can be super productive. And we can have the disconnect that we want. So that we're not taking work home with us, especially when we're working at home. Super helpful, Chris.
Chris LoCurto 28:23
Absolutely. And if you think about it, when you make this a structured time, and you say I have to be done by this time, then you will disconnect. If you don't set that time block in, what you'll find is is that you will allow that to blur into another timeframe or another time spot. And then next thing you know, it's nine o'clock and you're wondering why you didn't finish up your day of work. Alright, folks, well, hopefully this has helped you today help. Hopefully this has helped you to create those healthy boundaries that you need to make sure especially if you're working at home, especially if you have family at home, to be able to get the things done for work you need to get done but also not lose your life in the process. right not to spend your all your day all your time focused on work, enjoy life, Boston, get things done that you need to get done. I work really hard. My team works really, really hard during the times that we need to get things done. If there's if the ox is in the ditch, we got to get the ox out of the ditch. So there's times that we will spend extra time working on things. The big key here is don't make it your life that you are constantly working, constantly wearing yourself out. constantly wearing out relationships, forgetting your kids names. They don't know who you are. What you will find is if that's the route you go, eventually you're going to regret it. So hopefully this has helped you today. Take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life. And join us on the next episode.