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As someone who experienced divorce firsthand, Gregory Frank knows a thing or two about how tough it can be for professionals to get through the workday while ending their marriage.
“It is very difficult, if not close to impossible, for people to get up and go to work every day when they’re going through that,” says Frank, the CEO and cofounder of DivorceForce, an online community for those affected by divorce. “You have all sorts of emotions: fear, loneliness, anger, depression. These feelings take a toll on your ability to focus, have energy, and face the world. Most people feel very alone when in a divorce, so going to work is actually a smart move to help keep yourself busy, and stay social. It forces you to carry on each day.”
But he says divorce can be a “major distraction that consumes your daily life and constantly interferes with your job.
“The phone calls, the discussions, the preparation … a divorce is detrimental when trying to focus as it occupies your mind, when you should be focused on your job. Divorce is the second most stressful life event behind the death of a spouse, so the key is to find ways to reduce that stress.”
Luckily, he says, there are a few ways to do this. Keep reading for Frank’s tips on how to maintain focus, stay productive, and get through the workday when you’re going through a divorce:
Block divorce-related messages
Review divorce-related emails after work, Frank advises. “Reading motions and complaints from your lawyer during business hours is a no-no. You’ll lose focus and potentially ruin the day. Only talk to your lawyer after work. Keep your communications regular and structured – you’ll avoid the emotional roller coaster and cut down on your legal bills.”
Find a safe space
Feeling stressed? Take a break.
“Go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, or go sit in your car or a quiet corner and shut your eyes for 10 minutes and just breathe,” he suggests.
Keep your mind busy
Take on tasks, join group conversations, and add to your workload to stay busy, says Frank. “The more you have to do, the less time on your hands to focus on the divorce.”
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Be selective in who you share this news with
“Inform your supervisor,” he says. “Let them know that you are going through a life-changing event, and although you may seem off at times, that you are very focused on the job and will ensure your duties are performed.”
Don’t talk to everyone about your divorce – nothing good will come out of it. “Do you really need a dozen people asking you every day, ‘How’s the divorce going?'”
Leave the drama at home
When you enter your job, commit to the next eight hours and leave your drama at home, he advises. “Keep your cell phone in the drawer. Avoid the texts from friends and family, agitating emails from the lawyer, and any communication from your spouse that can disrupt your day.”
Have a go-to answer prepared
Coworkers are going to recognize that something is off, and having a response ready for when they ask you what’s up is important. “Something like, ‘I’m currently going through something person, and do appreciate your concern – but I’ll be fine, thank you’ is a good option,” says Frank. “Let them know that you appreciate the concern, but are not open to further discussion.”
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Identify quick mood boosters
Know what will help boost your mood so you can do that thing whenever you start feeling down. For example, is listening to music brings you up, have a few upbeat songs downloaded on your work computer. “Put on your headphones or speakers, and listen to your favorite tunes, preferably something that is relaxing,” says Frank.
Clean up your desk and clear your mind
“No need to stare at pictures of you and your soon-to-be ex on vacation in Mexico, or looking a family picture all day,” Frank says. “Those are sure to set off emotions that will interfere with your ability to focus.”