Understanding How Your Personal Life Affects You In The Workplace

Dr. Dawn Brown is a Child/Adult Psychiatrist and Serial Entrepreneur. She’s the CEO/Owner of ADHD Wellness Center & Mental Healthletics™.

Even before the world began to work from home, separating the problems of home from the problems of work has always been a challenge.

Perhaps a commute to clear your mind of your personal troubles can help, but personal emotions don’t shut off the moment you enter the workplace. You can’t stop worrying about a family member if there’s trouble, getting excited if you have something fun that evening, or feeling sad about something that’s just happened in your life. Current high-priority tasks at work might force you to ignore it or even successfully distract you, but these things are still there, and they have an impact. 

It’s important to remember that however invested we are in our careers, they are not our whole lives, and what happens at home can still affect us at work. 

Our careers, while a significant portion, are not our entire lives.

While entrepreneurs and the rest of us heavily attached to our careers might struggle to limit time spent on work, work really isn’t everything. Those other elements that make your life feel full are incredibly important as well. I believe it takes sufficient sleep and exercise, quality relationships, time spent on hobbies, and more to truly thrive in life, including your work life. 

If all is well in those other areas of your life, that naturally carries over into the time you spend working. Health and a stress-free home life can make for the perfect recipe to increase productivity at work tasks. By this same token, though, if things aren’t so good with you personally, it can be difficult to concentrate on work-related tasks, and results may even suffer. 

Emotions and stress from personal challenges can easily carry into the workplace.

It is simply inevitable that something will go wrong in your life. Whether it’s an injury or illness, a relationship dispute or another disaster, big or small, nobody has a perfect life all the time. No working person can expect to be impervious to these sorts of life events, and they also can’t expect to be impervious to the effect these have on work performance. 

Poor mental health and even just stress can take their toll. You might find it impossible to concentrate on anything long enough to get it done. You might even find yourself skipping out on the job completely. 

So, what can be done?

Tips For Preventing External Stressors From Hindering Work Performance

We can’t always control the external factors that have an impact on us. Feeling down and getting stressed out — it’s all normal and expected. And sometimes, there’s no stopping it from interfering with work. If a tragedy or emergency has befallen your family, you might have no choice but to drop everything else. In other cases, such as when home life simply has you feeling a bit tense, there might be other ways to address the situation. 

You might try:

• Taking a few moments at the start of the workday (or any time personal distractions creep up) to refocus. Do some breathing exercises or ground yourself with meditation. What’s important is doing what works for you to shift your focus to the tasks at hand. 

• Attempt to change your perspective on the items you’re worried about. Perhaps things aren’t as bad as you think, or at least they might be minor enough to wait until work is over. 

• Implement steps toward the improvement of your personal life. Some things could be out of your control, but if you can get more exercise or improve your sleep schedule, or you think it might help to see a mental health professional, do so. Take these actions not just for your career but also for yourself as an individual. 

Creating A Better Life, In And Out Of Work

Give these strategies a try the next time you find your performance at the workplace suffering due to personal issues. We can’t always keep everything within our control, but we can do our best to limit how things affect us. If something is just too big, the best solution might be to turn your attention fully to the issue for some time. I believe when you and your mental health are ready, your career will be there, ready to grow with you in the better life you are creating.


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