Wednesday 9 November 2016

Work Life Balance

I just started a new job which I love.  I am staying up too late at night working - but not because I have to but because I want to.  I am so excited about all the new learning and invigorated by the task set before me.  I have always been a hard worker.  I am often called a workaholic.  My mind just doesn't shut down, and I love to be busy.  The problem with this is that I often have trouble with my work-life balance.  I have noticed lately I have less patience with my kids and I'm not sleeping or eating how I should be.  (I have put exercise back in as a priority - I am typing this as I am on the treadmill.)   One of the foci of my district is mental health and so I know I need to fix this.  Today, the universe stepped in.

This morning as I drove from school to school, I was listening to Gretchen Rubin's Happier podcast.  (I have a major obsession with podcasts that you can read about here, and another one of Rubin's podcasts inspired the writing of my work manifesto.)  She and her co-host sister brought up Gretchen's Essential 7.  According to Rubin there are 7 basic habits we need to make or break to make life happier.  They are as follows:

1. Eat and drink more healthfully (e.g., give up sugar, eat more vegetables, drink less alcohol)
2. Exercise regularly3. Save and spend wisely (e.g. save regularly, pay down debt, donate to worthy causes, make purchases that contribute to happiness or habits, pay taxes, stay current with expense reports)
4. Rest, relax, and enjoy (e.g, pursue a hobby instead of cruising the internet, enjoy the moment, stop checking email, get enough sleep, spend less time in the car, take time for myself)
5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress (e.g., practice an instrument, set aside two hours daily for uninterrupted work, learn a language, maintain a blog, keep a gratitude journal)
6. Simplify, clear, and organize (e.g., make the bed every day, file regularly, put keys away in the same place, recycle, give away unused clothing)
7. Engage more deeply—with other people, with God, with yourself, with the world (call family members, read the Bible every day, volunteer, spend time with friends, observe the Sabbath, spend time alone in nature)
I got to thinking if this would help me with my work-life balance.  I figure it is worth a try.  So I present my Essential 7 - in hopes that these will help me balance.  
Note: While I do not remember exactly what Gretchen (or maybe Elizabeth) said, they did say something to the effect that the "promises" should not be too big or far-reaching as those kinds of promises are not easily kept.  I point this out for me as much as my readers so I can make small promises without feeling like I am copping out.
Here goes:
1. Eat and drink more healthfully: no more night snacking.  I will brush my teeth when the kids go to bed to avoid this.  Not sure how I will make that work at book club.
2. Exercise regularly: Back on the treadmill.  3-4 times a week.  4KM min.  I feel putting my desk on the mill might be a bit of a bad idea but it is working for now so....3. Save and spend wisely: 24-hour embargo on spending.  I love spending money.  I love internet shopping.  Moving forward, 24 hours must pass before I can buy an incidental.  (Not really work-life balance related but it will help with $ stress.)
4. Rest, relax, and enjoy: Cell phone stays downstairs at night.  This one will be hard because I love reading on my phone before bed and I use the flashlight on it to kiss the boys goodnight...BUT I think I also use those as excuses to do work/read about work stuff in bed.
5. Stop procrastinating, make consistent progress: Keep sketchnoting.  I wrote about this yesterday and commented on how it keeps me focused.  If I can monotask I think I will create fewer little meaningless tasks for myself that are work related.
6. Simplify, clear, and organize - I don't think I'm going to do this one as I am a compulsive organizer and it takes time away from what I am trying to accomplish. 
7. Engage more deeply: Make time to play with the boys more.  At least 3 nights a week work/dinner making or clean up goes on hold and we play (like monopoly last night) together, no just near each other.
I think these will all help me - wish me luck.
Think you could be happier?  Why not come up wth your own list?

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