As a self professed workaholic I completely understand the shear joy you get when you are deeply involved in a project, especially if it is going well. I completely get that the stress of building your empire, raising a strong healthy family and actively participating in community activities does not scare you, but challenges you to push harder. And last I know the price you sometimes pay with your health, family and friends as a result from putting too much focus on external matters like work and extracurricular activities and not enough on your self and family. So here are a few things I do, that you should try, that make me a happier workaholic.
Disclaimer: This is a judgement free zone. Some of the below might rattle you. So watch yourself. ;-D
1. Set Attainable Goals: Instead of seeking to fully complete 10 items in 1 day, focus on 1 to 3. Yes, just 1 to 3. If you notice, some tasks only take a few minutes to complete and others take all day. Setting your goal of 1 to 3 tasks not only allows you to complete those tasks, but it also gives you time to attend the boring meeting that could have easily been addressed in an email. Or give your client a little extra attention. You'll also feel better when you have more time to complete a few extra tasks you didn't plan for.
2. Perfection Isn't Realistic: We all seeking to be perfect in every way. In a hectic society with Six Sigma and threats of lay offs, perfect is not only encouraged, but it seems mandatory. This is the rub however, no one is perfect. Sometimes when you strive to be perfect, you mess up more. So work on doing the absolute best you can and remove the stress of the rest. I'm not saying lower your standards. Just be a bit more forgiving of yourself and your employees. If you make a mistake, 9 out of 10 times it isn't life threatening and it can be fixed. If you make too many mistakes, step back, focus on those fundamental steps that contribute to the best outcome and slow down. Perfection will come, but it can't be forced. It isn't realistic in all things. Forgive yourself and keep it moving.
3. Please Stop Saying You Don't Have Time: You and I both know you will make time for what you want. If you want to go on vacation, gym or rest, make time to do it. Commit to it by saving it in your smart phone, iPad, or Outlook.
4. Make Time For Family: Sometimes it may seem like your family doesn't understand. Why are they always interrupting you when you're trying to work? But have you ever thought that it maybe you who doesn't understand? Your family just wants to spend a few moments with you. Your kids want to impress you with their art work, and the love of your life misses you. 1-2 hours a day isn't much, but it makes a difference to them. It feels like a lot of time at first. When you get used to silencing the phone and enjoying those few precious moments, you'll realize the world did not end and you feel a bit better. Remember, you don't have a family to support your work. You work to support your family. When they are happy, you are happy and vise versa.
5. Make Time For Yourself: Now this is a hard one. Why? Because it is a women's nature to put herself last. I personally struggle with this one. This is how I manage to improve. I found 1 thing that I love to do for me and it's my nails. If I can get to the nail salon once a month I'm good. Now once a month isn't much. However, it's a start. So I propose that you find 1 thing you can do for you. 1 thing that makes you feel so very good and that you don't necessarily have to share. Then do it. Start small with once a month, then increase it. You'll be less resentful in those rough moments when giving of yourself seems impossible.
6. The House Is A Mess!! So What...: Now before you cock your head to the side and look at me like I lost my mind, hear me out. By no means should you prepare your house for a taping of the next episode of "Hoarders". However, spotless is not necessary. If you keep the kitchen, bathroom and laundry clean, you can survive until your next day off. Now when I say laundry clean, I mean clean in the basket and not necessarily folded. This does not make you a bad mom. This makes you a women with a lot on her plate, who is probably sleep deprived and in need of a house keeper. Until your family chips in to help pick up where you fall short, this can buy you some time. Are you ready for company to come over, no. But your so busy, that a house full of people isn't what you have in mind anyway. So, for day to day goings on, do enough to keep the family clean and keep it moving. The kids won't be traumatized and your spouse will live. Shoot, it might encourage them to pitch in.
7. We Can't Eat Fast Food!! We Might Die!! No You Won't...: I love eating healthy fresh food. Good meats and fresh vegetables make a long day worth while. However, sometimes you don't have the time to spend hours at the stove. So what do you do? Eat out!! The occasional fast food dinner will not kill the family. It will however, give you a night away from the stove. Other options to fast food is frozen dinners. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Publix have delicious, healthy and reasonably priced frozen dinners that can be made in under 20 minutes. As a matter of fact my 11 year daughter made one last night.
8. Pat Yourself On The Back: Give yourself some credit. You accomplish a great deal in a day. Take a look around. Your family is happy and healthy, your relationships are thriving, work is booming and you're alive. You had some part in that. Enjoy it and give yourself some credit.
9. Subtract 1 Thing From Your Schedule: Now look, you don't have to be busy from sun up to sun down everyday. Look at your schedule and remove 1 thing. That task can be 5 minutes or 50 minutes. The point is to start to create space to breath and think. In today's society we want our children and families to be super busy all the time. We've forgotten the art of just being still and enjoying what is. One way to ease into slowing down is to subtract 1 activity from you schedule. Do you have to be apart of 4 committees, 3 sports teams, and at every function? Nope.
10. Assess Your Quality of Life: Take a look at your quality of life and really assess if you are enjoying it. What is the use of having all of the power and money in the world if you don't take the time to enjoy it. Part of having a good life is the enjoyment you get from having it. Take a few moments and really assess it with the purpose of being grateful.
Being a workaholic is something that I am. I acknowledge it and do my best to incorporate balance. I love my work and the bustle of my life. However, the above tricks have helped me enjoy my life and work more. My family is happy and so am I.
If you have tricks that have helped you balance it all, please share. I'd love to here them.