Can’t Leave it at Home: How Your Personal and Work Lives are Related

Melanie Hargrave 4m 923

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Work Life Balance Responsibility

How many times have you heard managers, coworkers, and friends say, “I leave my personal life at home when I come to work?” How many times have you said that?

Most people live two “separate” lives: one at home and one at work. They have two different sets of friends. They have old memories with families and friends, and then they have a set of work-related inside jokes that only their coworkers understand. Their friends and families know all about their past; their coworkers know important things like how everyone in the office likes their coffee.

In reality, the two lives are not as separate as most people think. Personal problems do affect work life, and it’s up to the individual to make sure he is living healthily—physically and emotionally—so that he can be as successful at work as he is at home.

Personal Relationships

You cannot always control your personal relationships—sometimes familial, friendly, or romantic relationships are rocky. But when someone you care about is struggling or you’ve argued with a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse, that stress isn’t easily left at home. Worrying about your personal relationships can lead to lack of concentration and motivation, depression, and apathy at work.

Even though your relationships might not be completely in your control, do your best to avoid whatever drama you can. When drama is unavoidable don’t leave for work until you’ve made amends with your roommates or family members. Don’t hold grudges, and don’t let miscommunication get in the way of your personal (and work) happiness.


Your workspace and personal space at home will reflect each other. If you work at a desk job, your cubicle is probably just as (dis)organized as your office at home. And if you keep a planner or calendar at home to keep track of personal events, you’ll likely be aware of all approaching deadlines and meetings at work too.

So, to be organized at work, take the time to organize your home. De-clutter each room in your house, and set aside anything you haven’t used or worn within the last year. Have a garage sale to get rid of the excess “stuff,” donate it to Goodwill, or at the very least, send it to a self-storage unit (Edmonton has some good options if you live in the area). Being clutter-free eases stress and leads to a much healthier, organized lifestyle, which will transfer to your work life.

Sleeping Habits

This might seem like a no-brainer, but your sleeping habits will affect far more than the way you interact with your roommates or family in the mornings. You might be able to make it through the day, but your reaction time and attention span at work will both be slower, and you’ll be more prone to irritation with coworkers and bosses than if you had a healthy amount of sleep.

Experts suggest that most adults need between 7.5 and 9 hours of sleep to function optimally. The average adult gets less than 7 on any given night. That lack of sleep can lead to chronic sleep deprivation, which decreases your concentration and processing speed, causes more accidents during morning commutes, and puts you at a higher risk for diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes, all of which negatively affect your performance at work. Lack of sleep can even affect how much you like your job. Don’t let a lack of sleep make you dread going to work every morning.


Have you ever gone to bed so overstimulated that you couldn’t fall asleep for several hours, woke several times during the night, or felt like you never truly fell asleep? You might think that watching that intense movie or working out just before bed won’t affect your work life, but it can and will. Most experts agree that turning off the screen at least an hour before bed is the best way to get a restful night’s sleep. Even thinking too much about a personal challenge or work stress can keep your brain charged all night. And being too overstimulated in the evening won’t just disappear when you get up; you’ll find it hard to focus at work if your brain has been working all night.

Make sure that any parties or movies happen early in the evening. Conclude your evening with soothing music or a good book before bed so that your brain is relaxed enough to tackle work problems in the morning.

Personal Goals

On a positive note, any self-improvement goals you make for your personal life will also influence the way you work. If you’ve made resolutions to work out more, eat healthier, watch less TV, or learn something new every day, your healthier personal lifestyle will transfer to your work. You’ll be more alert, focused, and willing to give your job 110% if you’re meeting personal goals at home.

Don’t let yourself think that you have two distinctly separate lives—your work and personal life might just be far more connected than you’ve been led to believe. And the more you let both “lives” influence each other for good, the more successful you’ll be overall.

Melanie Hargrave is a wife and homemaker whose family is her pride and joy. She recently de-cluttered her own home by sending all of her excess “stuff” to Yellowhead Self Storage, and has decided that it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made.