How to leave work at work
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women are working harder, and longer - nearly 20 hours more a month than two decades ago - mostly due to more women working full time. Translated, this means that the demands placed on working mothers, both from home and from work, has increased exponentially. Add to that the advent of modern technology (cell phones, laptops and pagers) and you have a recipe for burnout.
Try these suggestions to help keep the balance between your work and home life, and leave work where it belongs, at work.
Change your route home
On bad or overly stressful days at work, take a different route, preferably longer, way home. Turn the radio off and think about what you have to accomplish at work and how you will go about it. Once you feel comfortable with your gameplan, turn on your favorite tunes and think about things not related to work for the rest of the ride home.
Vent it out
Lose your top, blow your lid, whatever term you like to use, just give warning to the members of the house that you would like the time to do that with them. Tell them you only need them to listen, they probably wont know who or what you are talking about anyway, and then stop! No more work talk after 15 minutes.
Big boss at home
Being the boss at work does not mean that you get to make demands at home. Your family is not paid to listen to commands. Imagine your little 9 year old making a spreadsheet detailing their allowance expenditures -- frightening. Treat the ones you love better even than those who report to you.
There will inevitably be occasions that work needs to be completed at home. Ensure that your project is actually important enough for this to happen. Otherwise, keep the electronics (blackberries, laptops, etc) off when you are at home. Regarding email; sure you may be tempted to check, but reserve this "special" time with your inbox for the office, otherwise you may end up completing tasks at home.
When you get home, ask your spouse how their day was. The key here is to actually listen to their response. Ask your children about their day, and then summarize yours by ending on a positive note.
Get up earlier
Rise and shine, go-getter! While it may be difficult to fall into this routine at first, getting up earlier and starting to accomplish some small tasks can lead to more free time for the family later.
There are very few women that can pull off the dual role of supermom and superworker, so factor in the core requirements of your job and make necessary adjustments. You may consider approaching your boss about a flexible schedule if you feel strongly that this will help your work performance.
A support system is a key to surviving the switch between work and home. Start using your family and then extend to friends and trustworthy colleagues. Eventually you will come to know who to rely on for what situation.
Delegation is simple and effective. Trust your employees or family members to execute tasks and live up to responsibilities so that you can be spared doing those items. This will allow you more free time to concentrate on the core of your own responsibilities.
Since there are very few places that sound a horn at quitting time any longer, it's up to each individual to be able to sound the virtual horn in their head and get ready to "punch out" and head home.