Unless my numbers match the lottery numbers, I am once again starting another week on the working wheel. Most responsible adults have to do this. I often ask jokingly, “why do we do this?” and I answer my own question with “Oh yeah, we want to eat and have this house.”
I’ll admit that it gets old. I have done this routine for the past 35 years. I’m closer to being eligible to retire in a few years. I always plug in the word “eligible” in that statement because being able to retire doesn’t mean I will be able to do so. The bills and responsibility won’t stop just because I hit that magic number.
Yes, it would be nice if my wife and I could just breakaway and go wherever we wanted whenever we wanted but aside from a large dump of cash into our bank account, it’s just simply not going to happen.
So, hi-ho, hi-ho, off to work I go. The best thing I can do now is have a good attitude about it right? I mean, honestly I don’t hate my job but I’m not in love with it either. I have moments that it is fulfilling and that I feel like I am doing something important. Although I am okay with my job, I am certainly not married to it. There used to be a time that I was totally into my work. I would do extra and more than what I needed to do and do you know what that got me? Even MORE work to do and MORE expectations laid on me. There came a time where I had to realize that if you let people do it to you, they will keep doing it until you learn to say no. People don’t like to hear no but, you know what? They have no problem doing it to you. So, I adjusted my perspective and got a better balance.
I know of people who volunteer to work weekends and build up their leave balance and then brag about it. My thought is always – “get a life”. Bragging to me about how many hours you worked over the weekend doesn’t impress me or make me feel guilty at all. It just shows me that you lack a proper work-life balance in your own life.
Here are some things I have learned that has helped establish a better balance:
- Don’t be quick to volunteer for a project unless you really want to do it. Don’t — I repeat – DON’T volunteer out of guilt or people’s expectations of you.
- Take time off. It is perfectly okay to take a day off and do absolutely nothing and not have a plan for your day off.
- Take your breaks during the workday. Don’t work through lunch. That’s totally dumb. Also do your best to keep your lunch break to yourself. Going with co-workers will only tempt you to talk about work. Get away from it.
- Delegate your work if possible. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If it’s too much ASK for help. There’s no shame in asking.
- Don’t over-commit. If you know a project will take a week, don’t try to be a hero and claim you can do it in two days. Only do what you can do.
- When you are away from work, unplug from work. No checking emails or working off the clock. Sure, there will be times when you are “on call” but when you aren’t – you aren’t. Resist the temptation to peek at your emails because even if you aren’t working, you will still be thinking about work or upset about something that you will have to deal with the next day.
So, yes, it would be nice to not have to work to pay the bills but most of us do but we can still do it the right way and maintain a healthy balance. Don’t fall into the trap of overdosing on your job but do it in the way that will make you happy. Take care of yourself because I can assure you that your work won’t take care of you. You are you, not what you do.