I know you’ve missed her over the last few blogs, so I’m back with the latest from my current podcast favourite Tonya Leigh. This time she explored how being driven can be a blessing but also a curse, especially when you don’t know how to manage your time, energy and life.
Finding a balance between work and home life is not an exact science and is not the same for everyone. There is no magic formula to finding more productivity or ease. There’s more to life than working just to pay the bills. We get to make decisions about adding more pleasure, meaning and joy into our lives, and sometimes these decisions can be hard. If you want things to be different it’s down to you to make it different and think wider than the limits of your current situation and circumstances, then be committed to the life you want to live and practice living it.
We all have different priorities, values, circumstances and desires, but TL offered eight ways to add more ambition and ease to work/life:
- Dress to impress yourself. Clothing can create a feeling for ourselves so we shouldn’t ignore our appearance, even if we’re not venturing to the office. You wouldn’t show up at work still in your PJ’s so why would you show up for yourself in your own life that way? Getting dressed up can lift your mood, make you more productive, give you more energy. Your whole day can be transformed by what you wear.
- Log off from the work day as if it’s the law. In France they have a law that gives employees the right to disconnect from emails, phones etc once they’ve finished their work day. This is to respect periods of rest and work/life balance. It’s up to us to be committed to disconnecting. There is no essence of “done”, there’s always something that needs doing. Dedicated time spaces gives opportunities for creativeness, tuning into personal life after work life. Not everything is urgent.
- Crumbs over your desk. A lot of us are used to working through lunch, eating at our desk and barely noticing what goes in our mouth, let alone that we haven’t take a break from the screen or meetings. Eating without thinking stops us being connected with our bodies and emotions. Your body processes food much better when you eat in a relaxed state. The world will not fall apart if you dare to step away from the desk.
- Be like the sandwich maker. The sandwich maker has queues of people waiting in line for over 30 minutes in order to buy one of his delicious sandwiches. If he were to diversify into salads or crepes, he may be able to get through a lot more customers. But, he is focussed on what he does best: making sandwiches, rather than spreading himself into other areas that might not be quite as good. If we have too many things to do, we end up not being great at any of them. What is essential in your work? What do you do better than anyone else? What lights you up? What if you focussed more energy and time doing less but better?
- People over profit. Relationships are more important in business and in life. Relationships are not formed out of financial need. Understanding how money can contribute to society and allows us to do things like see friends and family, and have different experiences is useful but it shouldn’t be more important than people.
- Laziness is the new productivity. We work hard but what do we have to show for it? Weight gain, stress, crankiness and exhaustion. You can still achieve a high standard of living by working fewer hours. We all need time to enjoy life and be a little lazy. Taking care of yourself and enjoying life can be the most successful use of your time.
- Life is too short not to take your holiday. Disconnect and get to see the world, family and friends. Life is too short to delay in taking pleasure then feeling exhausted and resentful as a result.
- Create a life outside of work. Don’t let work become your entire life. It’s important to diversify life, your job shouldn’t be your only source of fulfilment. TL said “It not your job’s job to make you happy, that’s all on you”. You get to experience more fulfilment when you’re not dependent on your job for your happiness. Work to live, not live to work.
I certainly resonate with some of those points.
I can’t stand sitting around in my dressing gown at home. Once I’m up and showered, I need to get dressed. I get really irritated seeing people answering their front doors to the delivery people still in their PJ’s. I don’t have what you might describe as “loungewear”. I get dressed properly as if I were ready to go out. I dress according to where I’m going and how I feel, not who I’m with.
I certainly log off from work once my office day is done. That’s largely because I have another full time job in the evenings with #bellringing. Either going ringing, running virtual ringing, meetings about ringing, writing about ringing, or answering queries about ringing. I can’t afford to still be worrying about work during the evenings. That’s not to say that there are times when things pop into my head about the working day.
Whilst I do eat at my desk, I do take time to go for a walk most days. I do a 9.5hr day so it’s important to get up and move about, and get some time away from the screen. I plug myself into a podcast as I walk around the hospital site. We are very fortunate to have fields and green spaces around so it’s lovely to see the changing of the seasons.
Not sure I’ve mastered the art of being the sandwich maker yet. Got lots of things going on at work and at home. Perhaps that makes me a jack of all trades, master of none.
I’m not particularly motivated by money and am extremely fortunate in being reasonably comfortable. I don’t have my own business so I’m not dependent on attaining a specific level of income. We are comfortable, which does allow us to do what we want, when we want, and we’re careful not to splurge unnecessarily. So for me, people are more important. I would rather spend money on spending time with those whose company is important to me.
I’m not very good at being lazy. I end up having a guilt trip of not doing something that perhaps I should be doing, and trying to fill time with more activity. That does mean that every now and then, my body reminds me that I need to take time to rest.
Taking annual leave is an interesting one that has become more complicated in the last year or two. I work a condensed week so cram full time hours into four days instead of five. That way I keep all my annual leave and Bank Holiday entitlement. Having a day off a week does allow me to do some things that I would have had to book leave for in the past so I’m finding I’m not using up so much of my annual leave. At the moment I have a week booked off over the Christmas period but then I have four weeks left to book between January to the end of March. The projects I’m working on will be significant come financial year end, however I didn’t get to have my 50th birthday holiday this February so we were putting that off til next year. It will also be out 25th wedding anniversary in March so the idea is to have a nice break around then. But I still need to get this leave booked in. I’ll probably end up taking odd days here and there which doesn’t really give you time to do anything much, but maybe I can use that time to be lazy!
I definitely have a life outside of work. I probably put around 16 hours of #bellringing activity per week between actually ringing, meetings, virtual ringing, writing reports etc. sometimes more. I also have baking that I like to do every now and then and more importantly I have a daughter who doesn’t live at home with us who we only get to see every six weeks or so, C has a grandchild that we’d like to see more of, as well as some activities that we need to get booked in. There’s not enough hours in the week!
How do you live with more ambition and ease?