04 Feb 2016 / by Paul Fox
The Power of Separation
John the MD has three work stations in his office.
Station 1 is dedicated to Project A.
Station 2 is dedicated to Project B.
Station 3 is dedicated to Project C.
He will typically work on Project A at Station 1 for a set period of time (might be 3 hours, might be 20 minutes).
He will then get up, disengage and separate himself from the project, move to Station 3 and engage fully and purposefully with Project C.
John has learnt the power of separation. He has learnt that the human brain responds incredibly well to physical movement and ritual. He deliberately, consciously and physically separates himself between individual tasks and projects.
John does not multi task because he knows the blurring of edges around trying to do too many thinks at once creates massive waste, brain confusion and inefficiencies.
He also knows ritual is powerful in helping us direct focus, energy and attention.
I used to have my office in my home. I’d find it tricky to separate my home life from my work life. The laptop would be calling to me… when I was supposed to be playing Monopoly with the kids.
The office in the garden is all about separation and the separation ritual. The commute to work through the 10m of garden separates my work from my home. The locking of the office door and the ritual of hanging up the keys with the big clumsy key ring stamped OFFICE tells me its time to clock off. There was work – now there is home.
There is no work life balance without work life separation.
Separating tasks helps us do sequential work which, is far more effective than multi-tasking.
Maybe you don’t actually need three workstations, but you might just feel a whole lot more at peace, fulfilled and productive if you lead a ritualised, separated life.
Paul Fox has been active as a Construction Industry Performance Coach for the last 20 years and remains at the forefront of Collaborative Working and High Performance Team Behaviours. He disrupts the status quo of individuals, project and senior teams who want exponentially more output with much less struggle.