How To Stop Thinking About Your Business And Focus On Family
If you can’t stop thinking about your business when you’re sitting at the dinner table with your family, and it’s starting to affect your relationships in a negative way, you should know why this is happening and how to fix it.
Why you can't stop thinking about your business
This is happening because when you think about things in your business that interest you, your brain releases a chemical called dopamine (also known as the pleasure chemical).
Dopamine makes you feel good. It makes you want to feel that way more often, and the way it can achieve that is by thinking about your business more often.
Although you love your family, and you want to hear about their day, it’s probably not as interesting as thinking about your business.
What you can do to be more interested in family conversation
Conversation with your family about their day doesn’t release as much dopamine in your brain, which makes it hard to engage and stay engaged with your family.
But you can fix this by showing up to dinner with an interesting topic or topics in mind that will keep you engaged, and focusing your thoughts on the conversation as much as possible.
I realize implementing this advice into your life isn’t easy, so let’s dig into this a little more.
How to show up to the dinner table with a topic in mind
What topics do you enjoy talking to other people about? What topics do you think your family will enjoy talking to you about?
The place where those two answers intersect is a great place to start. Pick a few topics to talk to your family about at dinner, before you even sit down at the dinner table.
When you’re sitting down at the dinner table, bring one of your topics up and see what happens organically. You may be able to stay engaged just by doing that.
But if thoughts about your business creep back into your mind while your family is talking, gently guide them back to the conversation.
How to focus your thoughts on your family
Maybe you start to think, “I didn’t finish that project I was working on today in my business. I’ll need to finish that after the kids go to bed tonight or tomorrow while they’re at school. I really want to get that project done.”
From there, maybe you start to think about all the things you have to do in order to get that project done. All the little details start rushing to the front of your mind. Email this person, write that copy, set up that process, etc.
Dopamine is then released, you feel pleasure, and your brain wants more of that pleasure. So, you keep thinking about business and the cycle continues.
If this starts to happen when you’re at the dinner table with your family, the first thing you need to do is notice it’s happening in the first place.
Hopefully you can notice before your family does, so they don’t get annoyed or upset with you. But this is a process and it takes practice, so your family might notice before you do.
Either way, once you notice it’s happening, gently guide your thoughts back to the present.
Maybe you intentionally start to think, “I know what I need to do to get that project done. I know every single step. I’ll work on it tonight or tomorrow and I’ll get it done. But right now I’m at the dinner table with my family. I want to be here with them. I want to hear about their day. I want to be present. It’s important to me to have a good relationship with my family.”
This brings you back into the moment, without discounting your business or the project you’re working on in your business.
At this moment, you may want to bring up another topic that you find interesting and that you think your family will find interesting too.
A topic that will keep you engaged and possibly release dopamine in your brain. If dopamine is released you will feel good and you will be able to stay present in the moment longer.
Why it's worth the effort to focus on family
As I said before, I realize implementing this advice into your life is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort if you want to have connected relationships with your family members and work-life balance that feels good to you.
So, the next time you find yourself thinking about business at the dinner table, bring up a topic that interests both you and your family, and focus your thoughts on the conversation as much as possible.
This will keep you engaged in the conversation longer by genuinely feeling interested and a release of dopamine in your brain (the pleasure chemical).
Get support when you need it
Relationship goals are one of the main things I help online service-based business owners (coaches, consultants, copywriters, graphic designers, other experts) figure out as it relates to their time and work-life balance.
I help them go from not being present with their families as much as they’d like, to finding small pockets of time to be present with them, to being fully present for as long as they want to be.
We also work on all the other categories of their life and business that makeup their overall work-life balance.
On the personal side, we take a deep look at how they spend their time on their health, managing their money, relationships with other people and themselves, personal development and fun, and boring adult responsibilities.
On the business side, we take a deep look at how they spend their time on marketing, sales, improving their product or service, client delivery, and operations.