How to Leave Your Work at Work

That’s something that if you’re a dad, you’re a father, you know sometimes it’s hard to make that transition, and not being able to make that transition in a clean, systematic, sharp way tends to kind of lead to some interesting things with feelings, frustrations, et cetera. Now me, currently I work from home so I have some different things I want to actually talk about for those who work at home at the end. But Jeremy, first I wanted to hear what you had to say about this and that kind of journey.

Yeah guys, we want to completely transition from our work life into our family life. And so, I wanted to present a tool that you guys might want to develop and that is having a coming home from work ritual. So, and this comes from one of the fountains of all wisdom, the movie, Mary Poppins, and it’s awesome.

The new one or the old one?

Yeah, there’s so much wisdom there, we could just talk about that with a few podcasts. But there’s a really cool opening scene where Mr. Banks has a really intense job and he’s trying to transition home. And, I think this is probably more normal in again, these older cultures tended to know the importance of having one of these rituals. Anyway, in his little song he says that his slippers, sherry and pipe are due at 6:02, so that was his ritual.

Hey, me and Mr. Banks share the identical nighttime ritual.

Yeah, you have that one?

Yeah, it’s all app. I put on my slippers, I grab my sherry, and I grab my pipe.

Yeah, that guy knew what he was doing. Man, this is a really cool thing, just filling up his pipe. Part of it is you guys, we are physical creatures and the transition from a hard day at work and into a home life is really a tough transition. And, I know for years I just expected to be able to just flip one off and the other on and no big deal. But man, it’s really just being Mr. Rogers, putting on a different coat or whatever. When you’re in different environments, changing clothes, grabbing a drink, having a little ritual. There’s lots of ways to do this. I encourage you guys just to sort of play around with what this might look like.

There’s a cool verse in First Chronicles 16:43, after David had a really hard day of work and bringing the Ark into Jerusalem, and it was a pretty freaky experience because the first time he tried, it didn’t work out too well. Anyway, the whole story ends with this quote, which is, “Then all the people return to their homes and David turned and went home to bless his own family.” And for some reason that phrase that David went home to bless his own family, that’s a great thing to think about when you are driving home from work. It’s like, “I am returning home from a hard day to bless my own family.”

And I think one of these rituals can really make that rich for you and make it easier for you to feel that transition. Because so, for a lot of people that this ritual might mean saying, “Hey, I need 10 minutes by myself to totally decompress from the day. I want to go into this room, get comfortable, grab something to drink or just have a few minutes alone. And then I want to fully enter into the experience of being at home, present with my kids.” It could mean things like turning the phone off or like I said, putting on a little comfortable clothes, but figuring out something that sort of triggers to your body, your mind and your soul. It’s time to sort of relax, and sort of shift down into a mode that’s more appropriate for home and family, and begin to sort of shed off the stress and the intensity of your work life. So that’s one tool. But yeah. Jeff, how do you think about this being at home during the day?

Yeah, I would say it’s very similar actually. Funny after you started talking, what I would say is yeah, I don’t think we are creatures of a ritual, of symbols, of icons, of pictures, of transitions, of all these different things. Every other culture in human history has gotten that except for us. And so we don’t mark them. We don’t kind of have sharp lines where we step in and step out of things, where we put something on, put something off. Where we enter under something, or do something, or do the same thing, et cetera. It’s interesting that sports actually do. I feel like anytime sports go from X to Y or whatever, they always tend to either do this exact ritual with a handshake, or a celebration, or a thing or a something with their shoes if they’re really weird, and touch this and do that.

But, ritual actually kind of marks our time. That’s another way to think about it, and that’s one really easy way I think to do this. Or one helpful way to think about, is mark your time. End it, start it with a ritual, like you said. One thing I’ll say that is definitely even more important working from home, even though you already mentioned it, is the phone. You have to just … For me that ritual is just turning it off, and I turn it back on at night. So depends on the nights, but my ritual is, I tend to stop working around four-ish, I think. Maybe three or four. And that’s usually when the kids are getting up from naps, et cetera. And it doesn’t go well if I just kind of put my phone … I don’t even keep it in my pocket. But, even if I keep it in my office and it’s on or whatever, it doesn’t go well for the next couple hours through dinner and bedtime, because I’ll just kind of pop in and check it and go out and see if I missed anything and all that.

But it does go well if I just, when I’m done working, it literally gets turned off. I shut everything down and it’s just that extra moment it takes to turn it back on, allows me to, I don’t enter back into it for the night basically until the kids go down, and if I need to work some more, or write some more, or something like that. So, for me just turning it off, having a sharp phone schedule, because here’s the lie, or the thing we don’t realize with phones is we think we’re in control and we’re setting the tone. And that’s true in some sense. You can say, “Okay, I’m done. I’m walking away.” But then someone can then actively kind of pursue you. They can ping it, they can vibrate it, they can text you, they can call you. And that’s what I’ve realized is like, “Oh, I need to actually shut off that ability, too. I need to shut off the ability to be pinged, to be beckoned.” And that allows me to really enter into the nighttime family ritual a lot better with dinner, and play, and books and bedtime.

And so that’s what I would say is just have a sharp, sharp line with the phone. Whether you work at home or whether you don’t, because a lot of us, that work tends to seep into the phone 24/7. So wherever you’re at today dads, wherever you’re listening, what would it look like to today, this week, spend your time crafting a little micro ritual, and a way to kind of turn off and turn on, and engage and put that father hat back on? Even though you’re wearing it all day, but, kind of taking off the work hat and entering back into fatherhood in the home for today.

Latest Episode

Listen To Our Latest Podcast



Start Building a
Multigenerational Family Team

Live events







Family scouting report