Work/life balance: a phrase often heard, and rarely exercised! For me, even when I’m taking time off, I’m working in some capacity. Take last Wednesday, for example. I went to a coffee shop to work and a friend came to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure all of my friends are under the understanding that if you want to see me, you have to find out where I’m working, and just meet me there…unless it’s Thursday. Thursday is trivia (with wine) and barely any work is done on Thursday.
But you get what I mean, we all say we know what work/life balance is. A lot of us actually have a great grasp on it. Some of us have turned our work into our life. I’m here to tell you that no matter what your work/life balance looks like, it is your choice to enjoy it any way you like. But take a break once in a while. I’m sure your sanity will thank you.
I happen to be very passionate about my work and I feel super guilty when I’m taking time to do something that doesn’t advance it some way. Last weekend, I went to a pool party *GASP* and I couldn’t shake that itching feeling that there was work that I could be doing instead. I left the pool party early to get some work done.
I’m sure that isn’t the healthiest way to be. We all need a break. Looking back on that pool party, I had a blast and was able to come to my projects with a relaxed brain, excelling my productivity. It was a benefit, not a hindrance.
I also have a family, of sorts. Nothing too crazy. No kids, just dogs. And I love them beyond measure. They keep me in check. I take them to the dog park, that has a bar, and wi-fi. I often work while they play, and I consider that quality time. I think they would disagree, if they could talk. They want cuddles and pets and all of the attention they can get. Especially Michi, who will keep licking my face in the morning until I wake up and shower her with affection.
There is a saying, “nothing gold can stay.” We need to enjoy what happens outside of our work, while we can. On a sadder note, my dad almost died. Well, he did die, for 9 minutes. But the doctors brought him back. He’s worked his whole life, and he is ONE year away from retirement. He’s enjoyed his life as much as he was allowed to, as much as his job permitted.
Growing up, I lived in Florida with my mom. My dad lived in Brooklyn. I would go and visit him all the time, but he only had so much PTO and so many holidays. They were a rare commodity for him. So I did a lot by myself while he worked. It was cool. I was super independent. I can tell you, though, it was not HIS ideal situation and it wasn’t really mine either. I love my dad. He had to do what he had to do, though. His workplace was not a positive work/life balance environment.
He is evaluating what is most important to him now, and it took him dying for 9 minutes for him to say, “This is ridiculous. Something needs to change.”
I say all of this to say: Take in life outside of work as much as you can. I’ll try to be better at it, if you do too, but you have to promise me you will.
Promise me you’ll work on your work/life balance and tell me what you are going to do this week that has absolutely nothing to do with work in the comments. I’m going to go someplace new, that I’ve never been. I’ll document it and post it, so you know I did it (technically work, but I have to prove to you I kept my promise, right?).