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Compartmentalise for a Better Work-Life Balance

Compartmentalise for a Better Work-Life Balance

Compartmentalise for a Better Work-Life Balance

Have you ever had a bad day at work and then taken that problem home and let it negatively affect your home life?

Probably, yes.

Have you ever had a bad day at home, and then let that home-life problem affect your performance at work?

Probably, yes.

When issues overflow into other areas of your life, this can cause real problems.

Imagine that at work, Sam is reprimanded by Bill the Boss for something that was not Sam's fault. Sam and Bill have a big argument and Sam leaves for home furious with his boss. He arrives home in an angry state and he goes into the lounge and puts on the TV to watch the news. Sam's two young daughters are playing noisily in the lounge. Sam shouts at the kids, "Will you two shut up or get out".

Because of the tone of dad's voice, the girls start to cry and leave to find mum.

A moment later Sam's wife Sarah enters the room and says to him "Don't shout at the girls. You have upset them. You really are a bad-tempered man!"
Sam replies: "They were making too much noise. What's for tea?"
"Nothing! Make it yourself!"
Sam says, "I'm going out"
Sarah says, "Fine! GO!"

So, Sam goes out for the evening, and drinks too much at the wine bar. He gets home late and drunk, leading to an argument with Sarah. He sleeps in the spare room. Wakes up late and consequently is late for work. Bill calls him into his office to explain his lateness.

Can you see what is happening?

A chain reaction.

One bad action from Bill caused Sam to lose his temper; which caused him to have a bad reaction to the girls, which caused a bad reaction from Sarah, which caused a bad reaction in Sam, which caused another bad reaction in Sarah...

One thing leads to another. And it leads to a titanic disaster for Sam.

In 1912, Titanic sank because, when it hit the iceberg, water flowed into the first compartment. The water then overflowed and flooded the second, and overflowed into the third, then the fourth, until the whole ship was flooded and Titanic sank. It was a good ship, but it had a design flaw.

If the compartments comprising the Titanic had been water tight, then the ship would not have sunk since the undamaged compartments would have been sufficient to keep the ship afloat.

Compartmentalise Your Life

In a similar way, your life needs to be divided into watertight compartments. If one of them gets flooded with bad news, then that compartment needs to be isolated from the rest of the ship. Do NOT let the fact that one compartment of your life, which is flooded with bad news, to be the reason to allow trouble to flood into another compartment.

Keep your life compartments mentally and emotionally isolated. Use the non-damaged compartments to be a refuge from the trouble.

Let us imagine an alternate universe and fix Sam. In this universe, things unfolded differently.

Imagine that Sam is reprimanded by his boss at work for something that was not his fault. Sam and his boss have a big argument and Sam leaves for home furious. As he arrives outside his house, he remembers the point that his life is composed of watertight compartments, and that he MUST not allow his bad day at work to contaminate his home life.

On an impulse, he turns the car round, drives to the local supermarket and buys a bunch of flowers and two small bars of chocolate. Five minutes later he arrives home with flowers for Sarah. He presents the flowers to his wife and says, "How was your day? How are the girls?".

Sarah says, "What lovely flowers. How kind you are! The girls are arguing in the lounge. "

Sam goes into the lounge and says, "Hi kids. I'm home!" Who wants a bar of chocolate?"

You can imagine the rest of the story.

Can you see the principle involved here? Divide your life into compartments. Here is an example.

Personal Effectiveness : Compartmentalise for a Better Work-Life Balance

If any trouble erupts in any one of the compartments, then mentally and emotionally, isolate it from the others. Don't let one contaminate the others. Let non-contaminated compartments act as sources of strength. Meaning, if there is big trouble at work, let your family life remain a source of strength. If your work and your partner are both giving you grief, then let your kids and the gym become your sources of strength.

If you cannot get to the gym, then turn your mind to your studies and let your studies of the inner workings of the universe be your inspiration.

Summary

Divide your life into compartments. Let the compartments be a self-reinforcing system.

Don't let trouble flood into adjoining compartments. Keep the compartments water tight.

Making Good Decisions

Please feel free to use our time management prioritisation tool, for free, on our website .

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