Being an adult is a rather interesting prospect, one is free to choose to do, be or have anything but one has to strive just as much to preserve and grow one’s self outside work. It is shockingly easy to be overcome by what one does and forget what one is. In today’s environment when one is constantly being hurled advise at; how to be productive, how not to be anxious, and even how it is ok to not be ok, the one conversation that is missing is about how to preserve your being-self from your doing-self.

The dos and don’ts at work easily slip into the non-work time and before we know it our work persona has become us. Every post-work watering hole has borne witness to people saying they can’t seem to unplug but after a couple of laughs it is all forgotten. With the advent of the New Year around the corner, it may be a good time to consider how to preserve your non-work self: 

Disassociation Routine

Associate the act of beginning and finishing work with a small phrase and gesture. This simple act will help keep your work and personal life from spilling into each other. You could coin a phrase for when you start and finish work for the day, something like “I am embarking on the most productive workday ever” and “I had the most productive workday ever”. You could play a song before you begin work and when you finish, something exclusive to those two situations, a special cup of tea or coffee that you only drink at the beginning and end of the day, the possibilities are endless.  

The idea is to train the mind by way of that gesture that the work day has begun or ended. It takes 21 days to form a habit so be patient with yourself and extremely strict about focussing your thoughts based on whether you are in work or non-wok mode.  

Learning-based Hobby

Engage yourself in something you have always wanted to pursue, something that engages you completely like a new language, weaving, needlework, complicated crafts, you get the idea. Try to schedule your hobby for as soon as you finish work so that your mind does not have an opportunity to obsess over the details of your day. If your interest is mainly mental like learning a new language or reading poetry, engage your whole self by reading aloud and writing down what you are reading. Engaging your visual and vocal senses whilst giving written form to what you are reading will cement the thought faster. If your hobby is purely physical like some sort of craft or time only permits you to pick between a hobby and working out, consciously choose some audiobooks to listen to whilst you work out and take down what resonates with you.  

An all engrossing hobby like this one will help your mind stay fresh and active whilst distracting you from obsessing about work round the clock.  

Focus and Silence  

This is probably the trickiest part of it all. You will have to work extra hard to train your mind to focus on the task at hand and nothing else. This key is to keep silent as much as possible, unnecessary chatter breaks your concentration and encourages your mind to wander. At all times pay attention to your thoughts and steer them gently when you find them wandering.  

Focus and Silence are the keys to living in the moment. They are like the monsters guarding the treasure, one doesn’t want to look them in the eye but when one does they lead to the treasure.  

Protect your treasure, your authentic infinite outside work self. What you do is not what you are and what you are is so much more than what you do.  

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