Work Life Balance
Tuesday, November 1, 2005
Posted by: Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman
You may be proud of how hard you work and how much work you accomplish. I know I am. But I also know there's a limit. You and I can't keep on working, day and night, five-six-seven days a week forever. Eventually, the body will say "enough is enough".
Years ago there was a saying that "all work and no play makes a person dull. "Today, it's probably more accurate to say that "all work and no play makes a person dead. "In fact, Japan has a special government program to compensate widows and widowers whose spouses literally work themselves to death.
Unfortunately, it's not easy to find time for recreation. We're all so busy these days. There's more work than ever and fewer people to do it. And, to make it even more difficult, companies tend to reward people whose lives are totally out of balance. They're given more respect and bigger paychecks.
So what should you do if you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, burned out, or off balance? First, REALIZE YOU'LL NEVER BE FINISHED, AND THAT'S OKAY. No matter how hard you work, you'll never get it all done. Even on the day you die, there'll still be a few things in your in box you didn't get to.
Perhaps you were raised like I was. My father always said "First you work, then you play. Get all your work done, and then you can relax. "While that's not bad advice, it is irresponsible advice in today's world. You and I will never be done, and we must realize that's okay. It really is.
Once you accept that, the second thing you must do is SCHEDULE SOME RECREATION. It sounds strange to put some free time or fun time on your calendar, but I've learned if it's not on the calendar, it doesn't happen. So plan some time and then take some time for recreation before you end up with "wreckreation".
And finally, REFUSE TO BE PROUD OF YOUR BUSYNESS. As Lee Iacocca said, "Over the years, I've had many executives come to me and say with pride: 'Boy, last year I worked so hard that I didn't take any vacation. 'It's nothing to be proud of. I always feel like responding: 'You dummy. You mean to tell me that you can take responsibility for an $80 million project and you can't plan two weeks out of the year to go off with your family and have some fun. ?'"
Action on work-life balance:
This week put an hour of recreation on your calendar. Schedule an activity that you will do just for the health of it. The only criterion you must follow is that whatever you choose, it must be something that will make you feel re-created or re-energized afterwards.
©Dr. Alan R. Zimmerman, 20550 Lake Ridge Drive, Prior Lake, MN 55372. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Zimmerman's "Tuesday Tip," a weekly Internet newsletter.