CandySometimes life isn’t neat and orderly. The lines between the different segments of our lives can be unclear – unless you’re an engineer or have some other type of well-organized, tabulated personality. For most of us, those lines can occasionally become blurred, which forces us to deal with issues on an “as they happen” basis, and not necessarily in an orderly, delineated fashion. I’ve talked to many people recently who had big personal issues come up at work, and work issues disrupt their home lives, and medical issues come up during social events, and all other sorts of unorganized, conflicting priorities causing lots of cross-over between the different areas of their lives. Naturally, this resulted in all kinds of stresses for these people and those surrounding them.

I was reminded of one of the many theories I draw from to help me deal with issues. One such issue, the chaotic, unorderly jumble of stresses that are created by not being fully immersed in our environments, I call the “The Employee Cloak Theory.” In a nutshell, the thought is that when we come to work, we should leave outside issues at the door – take off our “personal cloak”, hang it on the wall, and put on our “employee cloak.” We should leave our coat of burdens at the door and bring a fresh, optimistic, attitude to the tasks at hand. Similarly, we should take off our “employee cloak” and put on our “personal cloak” when we come home. In every environment, when we can, we should remove the weights of outside distraction and mixing of priorities.

We all have many different “cloaks” we can wear, and it’s important to try and wear the right one at the right time as often as we can. When we don’t, our priorities become mixed-up, our organization and attention to detail suffer, we can disrupt our environments, unknowingly sabotage our workmates and clients, provide a bad example for our kids and give the wrong messages to our friends and loved-ones.

It’s sometimes easier said than done, but when the lines between the many areas of our lives that require our full sense of presence become blurred, we need to remember to wear the right cloak.

With that thought, my movie-loving cloak offers up the following related quotes:

“You know, the finest line a man can walk is between success at work and success at home.”–John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles

“Your focus determines your reality.”–Liam Neeson in Star Wars I

“You know, my mother never had time for me. When you’re the middle child in a family of five million, you don’t get any attention”–Woody Allen in Antz