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Thursday / June 20.
HomemilastwordThe Last Word: The Third Space

The Last Word: The Third Space

For some people … in fact, for most, the commute between work and home is spent on the phone.

This space between work and home is seen by time-poor business people as a way to catch up on those calls and jobs they didn’t get done in the office, and is seen as an efficient use of time.

Dr. Adam Fraser is one of Australia’s leading educators, researchers and thought leaders in the area of human performance. He has worked with elite level athletes, the armed forces and business professionals at all levels. His client list, which includes the Commonwealth Bank, Westpac Bank, National Australia Bank and Century 21, reads like a ‘Who’s Who’ of the business and corporate world.

Dr. Fraser is not a big fan of the commute between work and home being spent on the phone, working.

The key to switching from work to home is finding your ‘third space’…

He calls this time – the space between work and home – ‘the Third Space’, and says that successfully transitioning from work to home and home to work is “one of the keys to peak performance”.

As life gets faster and shows no signs of slowing down, we need to take control of this space. High pressure jobs result in many of us becoming worn out, tired and feeling in a constant state of jet-lag. The result is decreased performance and reduced productivity.

The space between work and home is a time where we can wind down from the work day and regenerate but for most people, when they arrive home, even though they are there physically, their mind is still in the office.

Every environment has a specific and different mindset. The mindset for work is one of fast pace, high demands, quick decisions and time scarcity, whilst home is slow paced, nurturing, supportive and less focused on outcomes and performance. If we make the mistake of entering one environment with the mindset of the other, it’s a recipe for disaster.

Dr. Adam Fraser tells the story of one busy executive from a large financial institution who articulated this problem perfectly: “Because I work such long hours I rush home at the end of the day, the problem is that my mind is still in work mode and I try to run my home like my office. I walk in the door and I finish my wife’s sentences because she doesn’t talk fast enough, I yell at the kids because they are not time efficient. I drive my family crazy!”

The key to switching from work to home is finding your ‘third space’. In this space when you listen to music, meditate, take a moment to yourself, write things down that are on your mind from your day, etc. you alter your mindset to suit the environment you are going into. In this formal time you make a conscious decision to switch over.

Whatever we choose as our third space, whether it is writing, the trip home on the train, the gym, a walk in the park, having a shower or even the commute home in the car, the Third Space allows you to be more present at home, both physically and mentally.