Your work day has not gone particularly well. It’s finally time to pack up to leave for home. You open your oversized messenger bag and start putting in all the annoyances and disappointments of the day.
Into it goes that email from your co-worker saying she doesn’t have time to help you with that special project. And that message from your boss moving up a deadline. You add that frustrating exchange with a client, and that feeling of being left out when you saw two friends heading out to lunch together. Then there was that dismissive reply when you made a suggestion at the team meeting, and your vacation request that was denied because someone else got hers in sooner than yours.
You cart the bag home and angrily drop it by the front door. You might not actually open it, but each time you walk around it, you unpack it in your mind. The next morning, when you leave for work, you pick that bag up and lug it with you to the office again. The routine repeats each work day, and the bag gets heavier and heavier.
If you stop and really think about it, what is the value of carrying your emotional baggage to and from work? What would happen if you just left it at the office? How about if you went through the potential contents at the end of each work day and then discarded it all? Wouldn’t you feel much lighter as you head for home? Wouldn’t it help you keep some distance between your work life and your personal life? Could you stop obsessing about what’s in the bag and focus more on what matters?
Perhaps most important of all, not carrying that excess baggage around would allow you to begin each day anew. So stop packing stuff into that bag unless your vacation is approved and you are actually going on a trip.