The Home Work Podcast has become one of my favorite new shows. It’s short, and I’ve been learning a lot. About 3 weeks ago Dave and Aaron talked about what they call The Mental Office:

Working from home isn’t always about notebooks, apps and office furniture. Much of it happens in the head, between fighting distraction, staying focused and keeping things organized. In this episode, Aaron and Dave chat about leaving work at work (even when it’s in your home) and doing a mind-sweep to keep things clear.

Aaron shared a metaphor of how switching between work and home life was akin to transporting between worlds in Myst. I took some of his ideas and adapted them into my own daily routine. I now end the day by doing a brain dump into a running text file in nvALT — I jot down all the ideas still in my head, all the loose ends I didn’t tie up, all the things I may want to do but didn’t get to.

It can be hard to call it quits for the day when there are still things which could be done. And so my text file is my way of admitting that yes the day is done and yes there is still work to do, but there is always tomorrow.

It reminds me of this Hemingway quote:

I learned not to think about anything that I was writing from the time I stopped writing until I started again the next day. That way my subconscious would be working on it and at the same time I would be listening to other people and noticing everything, I hoped.

By jotting down the loose ends of my work, and then leaving things alone, it has helped tremendously to let my conscious mind not keep work at its forefront when it’s not office hours. It also works as a great way to start the next day if I don’t already have an idea or project buzzing in my mind.

The Mental Office