Take A Moment

Take a moment to transition. To relax. To reset your mind.

It doesn't require much. Often just a few minutes. A small slice of time is all that's necessary to set your mind right for any upcoming commitment you face.

When I leave work I take a few minutes to sit in my car in order to relax. To wind down from working and think about the remains of the day. Those few minutes help me be a better father and husband, and increase my own enjoyment of the evening hours.

I remember talking to my mother about her long commute back when she had a factory job. She looked forward to her after-work commute. It gave her time to decompress from the busy day. To gather her thoughts and shift her mind to her family. So when she arrived home, she was truly there.

You see, I grew up in rural Nebraska. Driving there is mostly an individual sport. No traffic jams, no conjestion, no rubbernecking. Just long, straight, open roads that end on the horizon. Driving like this can be theraputic. It doesn't require the intense and often draining focus that driving in bumper-to-bumper traffic does. In contrast, driving on a sleepy highway gives you the opportunity to transition.

Here's how I transition from one focus to the next.

Step Away

I physically remove myself from where I've been working. This is essential. It lets my mind know a transition is occurring. Even if I plan to return to the same space for my next task, I will still step away. Before I leave, I will clear the space of any evidence from the previous task, so I will return to a clean slate.

Clear My Mind

Next I find a quiet place to relax and just be with my thoughts. It doesn't have to be Walden Pond. For me it's generally somewhere devoid of other people. I allow my mind to drift away from its previous focus. I tell myself there's no need to waste more cycles on my previous work. I work my way to thinking about as little as possible. Clarity of mind is my objective.

Set My Focus

Finally, after my mind is clear, I think about where I’m going. My goal is complete devotion to what's next, be it griding away on another project or being a father. By shifting my mental energy wholly to it, I know I'll be giving my best which produces the best results.

That's it. Take as little or as much time as you need to transition. It's a simple procedure, but I've found it produces results far greater than the time invested.