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Between Work and Home: letting go of the baggage

As the boundaries between work and home become ever more blurred, it can be difficult not to bring our worries from one to the other. Walking in the door after a long day in the office, shifting from spreadsheets and deadlines to dinner and homework routines with our kids, or having a conversation with our partner about issues in our relationships – are we really, truly present, and showing up as our best selves? Or are we carrying baggage from one point to another?

Our mental and emotional state can be hard to adjust to the need of the moment. Even throughout the day we are challenged to not let the frustrations of one task such as a difficult meeting affect us as we move to the next one. Or perhaps it is returning from a FIFO shift, transitioning from an intensive work period to R&R that we struggle with.

Adam Fraser suggests that it is what we do in-between these points that really matters. He calls this gap the Third Space and argues that it is the difference between poor or average and high performance. The Third Space can help us manage the moment of transition between a first activity and the second, to mentally show up appropriately for whatever comes next.

We can create the third space on our commute, at our desk, before we open the door – wherever we find ourselves moving from one mental space to another. It involves three simple steps:

  1. Reflect on the previous point and put it behind you. Look at the positives. How do I interpret what just happened to me? What went well? What did I achieve? How did I get better?
  2. Can I be still and present? Take a minute or two to let your muscles relax, focus on your breathing, and become aware of your senses.
  3. Re-set How will I show up? What is my intention? How do I need to behave?

For a quick overview of the Third Space, watch this short 6-minute video.

The Third Space has shown to be effective in improving focus, performance at work and relationships at home. It’s a good reminder that it’s not about when you show up, it’s how you show up.

If you are interested in more tips on how you can use the idea of the Third Space to help you adjust to meet the demands of the moment, consider booking a counselling session with AWS to learn more Counselling – Access Wellbeing Services.

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