I just read an awesome article over on The Chalkboard talking about balancing work and life, and how easy it is to let our work life to sit front and center in our minds. "Janelle Whitaker at Darling Magazine recently explored what happens when we get buried under a blanket of stress and pressure…and how to dig ourselves out". I thought I would look at the questions she asked and reflect on what those mean and how they can resonate in our lives.
Janelle Whitaker guides her discussion through the next five questions ||
When was the last time I truly connected with someone?
I like to think that at some point during the day, we lock eyes with someone, engage in good conversation, and fill the world with mindful thought and compassion. Unfortunately, I know that there are days that can go by where all I have done is eaten, worked, and slept, completely devoid of human interaction. Seems silly, doesn't it? Truly connecting is finding time away from work where there is mindful engagement with another, be it in an activity, a dinner out, etc. I think it is harder to rationalize the prioritization of this kind of time when our lives are filled with meetings, phone calls, emails, and piles of work. Funnily enough, as I write this, I'm sitting across from my best friend. For about an hour, we were able to hang out and chat, keeping it lighthearted and open, but as soon as my computer propped open, my phone was out beside it, and I zigzagged my eyes between email updates and my fingers sliding across the keyboard. I guess you could say I need to connect more.
How do I spend my free time?
If you find that you "don't have time for free time", consider making room for some and find what really moves your spirit and soul. Take care of what is pertinent, take a deep breath, and step away to enjoy moments away from work. I read the other day that the activities you do while procrastinating should probably be what you do for the rest of your life. While free time and procrastinating are not the same thing, I like to believe that your soul and inner guide direct us to procrastinate when our mind needs time to reset. My goal is definitely to spend my free time looking more toward opportunity and fun than filling it with more work or creating more deadlines. While I appreciate the creative process, there are times when free time could go back to the basics -- taking a walk, reading a book, or calling an old friend up on the phone.
How have I been feeling physically?
It's so easy to let our physical care take a backseat to our work, obligations, or appointments. Be it waking up and immediately getting to work or forgoing a little exercise for an extra hour of typing or grabbing a quick lunch to stay at our computer, it is definitely easy to forget our bodies and our needs when we're rushed and involved with everything contributing to our career. And a lot of the time, that lack of focus towards our health runs us down, lowers our immune system, and then it's coughing into Kleenex and making an appointment for your doctor. Check in. How are you feeling? Notice if you need to slow down or if you're feeling fit as a fiddle. Be okay with however your body is responding. When you allow time to heal yourself physically -- more exercise or less, better food choices, more water, your body will function at it's highest capability, making your work all that much better.
How have I been treating people lately?
Think back to when you were your busiest (maybe it's while you're reading this post). How have your interactions with those around you been? Were you aware of your response and reaction? Did you disregard their thoughts, because you were concerned with your next to-do item? Or were you able to stop what you were doing, and give them your 100% focus? A lot of the time it's easy to dismiss others or neglect their presence. Next time you interact, try and be present with the other person. Smile and be kind, even when you find yourself rushed and frazzled.
What are my priorities?
If your top priorities don't have another human in them -- no matter how much you are involved in your job or the community -- I would consider working someone (it can be an animal too!) to the top. Money, while awesome, won't sustain you either. Find your passions and make them your priorities. Excelling in work is very important, too, of course. But not at the expense of drowning in it all and neglecting what nourishes and feeds your soul. Sometimes when we are busy at work, we prioritize the next meeting, the next project, the next sell over our health, our loved ones, our free time. Just remember, you are one person. Loving and caring for yourself are just as important as landing the next client or creating the next project. Always try and keep an even perspective.
Check in with yourself and be honest...
How is your work-life balance? Are you finding harmony between your job and your passions and everything else? Feel free to comment below ...