We all know the idea of a work-life balance. Once we leave the office, we should focus on our private sphere - family, friends, and leisure. No more emails and phone calls - hopefully. Makes total sense, right?. However, what many forget is how work and free time are not just in balance but co-dependent and can mutually profit from each other.
Let me provide an example. You come home from a long day at work and want to make dinner. Neither you nor your partner bought any groceries because you were too occupied with meetings during the day, and you don't want to go out again since you are both quite tired. What are you going to do? One option would be to order take-away, of course. Some nights, that's perfectly fine. I love a good pizza that just arrives at your doorstep.
But what if you take some of the skills that you use when working to make an impromptu dinner together? With creativity and some planning, even a few ingredients can result in a delicious meal. Plus, you use up foodstuffs that might go bad otherwise.
This is just one of many possibilities to transfer skills from one area to another. What they all have in common is synergies. Don't see work and private life as just two opposite ends of a spectrum. The skills that you learn in one part of life can also be used in another. And when you are back in the office the next day, perhaps you'll think of a mental trick which helped you in the kitchen last evening. Or when you assisted your child with a school project. Or that other brilliant idea from a hike in the mountains.
Naturally, you need to establish boundaries to create harmony between work and your free time. But sometimes, you will have to cross these boundaries. That's ok, too. Because if you do so with an open mind, the benefits can be huge.