It’s hard, if not close to impossible, to return to your normal life right after a divorce. Throughout the divorce process and afterward, upsetting thoughts and feelings can often take a toll on your productivity at work.
Your boss and colleagues may be understanding. However, you’re usually still expected to leave your personal problems at the doorstep and perform at the office as the person they are used to seeing. How do you do that? How do you focus on your work when you’re having the hardest time in your life?
Here are few things you can do.
1. Take your breaks seriously.
You might think it’s easier to bury yourself in work. It’s not. If you suppress stress and anger, these negative emotions will come out even stronger, sooner or later. When you’re feeling stressed and work is overwhelming, you should just take a break. And scientists have proven that brief breaks can help you stay focused on work.
Try going for a short walk. Get a nice, hot cup of coffee. Allow yourself to think whatever you feel like thinking. You’re going through a hard time. Don’t be too hard on yourself. You’ll get back to work right after the break.
2. Don’t feed anyone’s curiosity.
People are curious by nature. Your office buddies will want to know what’s going on. If you don’t want to share the news about your divorce, you don’t have to. If they come to you with intrusive questions, just say you’re OK and you want to stay focused on work.
3. Stay away from distractions.
Cell phones, the internet, gossip, and social media are major distractions at the workplace. When you’re recovering from a divorce, these distractions can undermine your productivity.
You may want to stalk your ex on social media. You might be getting phone calls from your family and emails from your lawyer. Block these distractions. Keep the phone in the drawer and tell everyone to call only in case of emergency. Any call from your ex will bring more drama than you need in the office. Don’t bother with your private email, either. And do not use social media during working hours!
4. Celebrate small accomplishments.
When you do your best at work, you achieve little victories every day. Showing up at work when you feel like you carry the world on your shoulders is a small step forward, too. Appreciate these efforts. Give yourself some credit for each task you complete.
Lilly Roberts, a team leader at Essay Geeks, explains: “After a divorce, it’s not unusual for people to feel like they are no good. These were my thoughts exactly: ‘Good, I wrote this awesome business report… but what good is it? I just got a divorce and I’m a failure.’ Somehow, I found a way to ruin every step forward by reminding myself I got divorced. The moment I got out of that mindset and I started celebrating my accomplishments, I was much better. I could focus more on the work, too!”
5. Make daily to-do lists.
A to-do list is a simple, effective way to boost your productivity at work. When you doubt that you can go through all tasks, just write them down and plan how you’ll distribute them throughout the workday.
When you create to-do lists, you realize you have more than enough time for everything, as long as you stay away from distractions. You learn how to prioritize, and that makes you a more productive worker.
6. Give yourself time to reflect.
Remember those breaks? You can use them to work through the heavy emotions you’re experiencing. Research shows that people who reflected on their breakup recovered better than those who tried forcing themselves to forget about it.
Don’t try to ignore your divorce. It’s OK to think about it during off-hours. Giving yourself some time to reflect will help you understand your situation better. After the emotional interrupt, it might be easier for you to focus on work.
7. Develop a new routine.
What happens after work? That might be the most challenging aspect of a divorce. The sole thought of going to an empty home or apartment can ruin your focus. That’s why it’s important to develop a new routine that makes your free time enjoyable.
Why don’t you start going to the gym? If you always loved reading, it’s time to hit the bookstore. Doing something you love will give you a reason to get through the workday with success and peace of mind.
Although divorce is tough, it was likely the right decision for you. You can even use the experience to learn and grow mentally and emotionally. Why not use this time to refocus on your career and make progress on your professional goals? Hopefully, the tips above will help you get there.
About the Author: Chris Richardson is a journalist, editor, and a blogger. He loves to write, learn new things, and meet new outgoing people. Chris is also fond of traveling, sports, and playing the guitar. Follow him on Facebook and Google+.