Why we DON’T really want balance - Your chance to win!

by External16 Jul 2012

Broaden the idea

This technique not only applies to the transition between work and home; it applies to all the little transitions we make in our day. Our day is spent moving or transitioning between different roles, tasks and environments. Each of these require us to be different things to different people. Add to this the rapid rate of transitions where juggling interruptions, multi-tasking and layering of time has become our default work style. My research shows that what we do in the Third Space has a significant impact on our performance. In other words, it’s not what you do – it’s what you do in between what you do – that really matters! It is similar to Darwin’s theory: “It is not the strongest of the species that will survive. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change”. Time management is dead. We can’t work any harder! The competitive advantage in the 21st century is the ability to transition rapidly and shift into a mindset that aligns with the next task, role or environment.

In my experience within the corporate world, HR practitioners undergo more transitions than any others. On any given day a HR professional may go from conducting a termination to then carrying out a performance review, to catching up on compliance, to focusing on high level strategy to dealing with a case of bullying to then solving a payroll issue.

When people applied the principles of the Third Space to each transition they made they felt more in control and their performance improved. Some reported back saying they did their Third Space between meetings: they literally had one minute to do it and the Rest phase was relegated to two deep breaths, but they felt it still made a difference. Put simply, when we collected their feedback this was what they said about the benefits of managing the Third Space at work.

Reflect: It allowed them to learn and identify the key behaviours that led to positive outcomes and to deal with the previous interaction without carrying the ‘baggage’ from it to the next one. When Reflect was performed as a group (eg. in a sales meeting reflecting on the previous week and what they had achieved) it led to an improvement in culture. This is powerful because when someone feels that they are growing and achieving, they exhibit an increase in engagement. The Reflect phase facilitates this perfectly.

Rest: This phase simply allowed them to pause and clear their mind. Rest was a chance for them to catch their breath before the next activity. People felt that the clarity of thought that came from Rest helped them be more strategic and accurate with their thoughts. New research in the area of stress management is showing that short regular pauses in our day on a consistent basis leads to a dramatic drop in stress, anxiety and depression.

Reset: People found that the Reset phase (which asks us to identify our clear intention for the next interaction and the behaviour that will make the intention a reality) helped them cut through the clutter and busyness of the world. Due to our hyperkinetic society where we feel that we are on a roller coaster stuck on repeat, we often lose sight of the outcome we are after. The Reset phase allows us to get clear, heightening our sense of control. The articulation of behaviour is also crucial. If we want to change and grow it starts with altering behaviours.

If you feel the need to have greater control over your life and improve your relationships, apply the principles of the Third Space to each transition you make. Go forth and Reflect, Rest and Reset.

Your chance to win!

Here's your chance to win a free coaching session provided by Dr Adam Fraser. The best response will be judged by Dr Fraser, and the next five best responses will receive a free copy of his book, 'The Third Space'.

To enter, email editor@hcamag.com your response to this question in less than 200 words:

What do you do in the transition between work and home?

Entries close 31 July 2012


About the author

Dr Adam Fraser is a leading researcher and behaviour expert. His latest book "The Third Space" is due out in July 2012. For further information visit dradamfraser.com

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  • by Marie Crozier-Durham 30/07/2012 3:16:05 PM

    Adam’s Third Space provides insight into an important coping strategy to improve work/life balance. It supports the view that individual agency, self-efficacy, and positive emotions are an important aspect of work-life balance. Individual workers need to be active players in achieving work-life balance suitable to themselves (and different for each person). In my practice I refer to something similar called “proactive border management.’
    However, the research indicates that the ability of personal and family coping strategies to reduce work-life conflict pales in comparison to the effectiveness of actions that can be taken by the organization.

    The impact of work/life conflict is circular, in that demanding work situations, high stress, poor coping skills, role conflict, and insufficient time with family and friends undermine work performance. Consequently, the best way to improve work/life balance (improved employee attitudes and performance while enhancing well-being and family and personal satisfaction and relationships) is to create better quality jobs and more supportive workplaces, while keeping job demands and role demands at reasonable level, as well as providing valuable information such as in Adam’s book about personal and family strategies which work for the individual.

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