Promises to Love/Live a Work/Life Balance

It’s Saturday afternoon of Labor Day weekend. The US Open is on and to be totally honest, I haven’t done a single thing of worth. My day-flow has been a little something like this:

  • 9:10 AM Wake Up (slept in – yay for me)
  • 9:11 AM Make coffee
  • 10 AM Logged on to Facebook
  • 10:30 AM Imported pictures from one computer to another (lots of memory lane walking here)
  • 11:15 AM Had a snack
  • Noon Decided it was time to play a little PlayStation
  • 1:15 PM Changed video games and continued playing
  • 2 PM Random article reading, cruising Facebook/Tumblr/Twitter

And now … here I am. Last night I enjoyed an evening hanging out with a good friend and previous colleague, her daughter and her husband. It was a great night.  After the laughter and conversations, I started to think to myself … how can one person do it all … and enjoy it all?

In my short time in the workforce, I’ve enjoyed the craziness of 70-80+ hour work weeks, the don’t take my phone away from me moments and the incessant email checking. Before that, I always kept myself busy with sorority exec board, honor fraternities and student advisor for the dorms. And before that, I was the girl who started her own organization in HS, joined NHS and 6 other groups. So there you have it – I’ve never been good at idle. To be honest, I’m a recovering addict of the work/work addiction.

So, today I’m finally making myself chill out, relax, do nothing, and not feel guilty about it. Is it working? Am I convincing you yet? I’ve checked my email three times today, thought about an RFP response I should be working on and read SM articles that always trails my mind back to work. Here’s the thing – it never really turns off. Here’s why: when you love what you do and what you do really gets you excited, it’s always work and always life. But there are things I need to work on, so that what is really work stays here (motioning to the left) and my loving life lives over here (motioning to the right).

Here are my resolutions/promises to myself to move a little closer to a work/life balance. Will you take the challenge with me?

  1. I will not check email every 5 minutes, 10 minutes, hell let’s be crazy. I will only check it on Sunday, once. To assist, I will turn the PUSH function on my phone EOD Fridays.
  2. I will not turn on my IM on weekends or when I get home, because it’s too tempting to respond to people and work when most things can wait.
  3. I will work out at least 4-5 times a week. That 45 min to an hour is mine and mine alone. You need that.
  4. I will take at least 2 vacations a year. And, I will not bring my laptop. Last month, I spent 5 days in Isla Mujeres, totally disconnected. It was an eye/mind awakening experience that helped me get a little closer to being okay with being idle.
  5. I will recognize and live this mantra, “I am not that important.” No one really needs me that much, and no response is that critical. I don’t work in an ER, and I’m not in the business of saving lives. Ego manifests itself in both negative and positive ways, but its end result is always negative. A mentality that leads you to believe you are truly needed drives us, but it can destroy us. It’s finding yet another midpoint, so that my body has some semblance of homeostasis.

Do you have any tips on your you work out the kinks of a work/life balance?


Posted on September 4, 2010, in Personal, Professional. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I have worked out a similar schedule for myself and I can tell you that it indeed works. Many people get it twisted when it comes to work/live/balance.

    If you look at a billionaire they really don’t have much balance between work and life usually unless they have inherited all their money. I’ve read about a lot of billionaires and they work 20 hours everyday, they don’t take many vacations, they don’t take days off, they work most of the time. I”ve even heard of a billionaire who told his wife never to call him during the day unless the house was on fire or something was wrong with the kids LOL.

    Michael Milken the famouse junk bond king who earned hundreds of millions of dollars only slept 2 hours a day. And worked the rest of the day, that’s not balance if you ask me.

    If your goals and appetite for earning money isn’t in the hundreds of millions then you can fit in a more balanced life but you should be very realistic with yourself on what you want.

    I follow the same structured schedule every single day and I never break it. Jerry Seinfeld when he was coming up as a famous comedy and actor used to practice his craft every single day and he would mark and X on his calendar each day he practiced and his idea was to never break the chain of X’s by missing a day. This is what he said made him able to be very successful. It’s that daily regiment that’s important not the short spurts or occassion hard work.

    In my work I start early and I work late but I’m smart about when I work so there are very little interruptions. I check email once or twice a day and that’s it, I’m not getting paid to read emails i’m getting paid to produce results for my customers 🙂

    Great article!

    • Hey! Thanks for the great comment! Luckily, I’m not trying to be a billionaire (or so the song goes), so I’m safe to enjoy more than 4 hours of life.

      That’s amazing that you check email once or twice a day! You’re right that we all probably spend more time shifting through email, that we end up not being as productive as we could be. Love your quote – “I’m not getting paid to read emails, I’m getting paid to produce results for my customers.” I’ll try that! Thanks for the great tip.

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