Have you ever just wanted to disconnect from your day?
I had one of those days this week myself. It was a Monday, big surprise, right? There’s just something about the intensity of Mondays that tend to leave us all feeling a little more stressed than usual. Despite our best of intentions and planning, there always just seems to be more to do on a Monday than most of the other days of the week.
Mine started out like most Mondays. Answering emails, phone calls and other social media messages for some of the marketing campaigns I have in place. Then I moved on to some work that I was doing on behalf of my clients. More emails, more phone calls, problems with some of the technology components, a text from my husband, a phone call from one of my kids, the neighbor asking for a favor……..Sound familiar?
By the end of that day, my head hurt, I was grouchy, and a part of me just wanted to run away. I did my best to try and relax that evening. I poured myself a glass of wine and my husband and I treated ourselves to a pretty decadent dinner which we prepared ourselves and we sat on our backyard swing and actually watched the sunset. A great way to disconnect, right?
That’s what I thought too. No such luck. Despite going to bed fairly early, to give my body and brain the time to relax and heal, I was up at 2:30 in the morning, unable to fall back asleep. I had thoughts of emails and clients and projects swirling around in my head that just wouldn’t be quiet. It kind of reminded me of that line from the Wizard of Oz that said, “Lyons, and Tigers and Bears, oh my!” but instead mine went, “Emails and Clients and Projects, oh my!”
My head started pounding again and I could feel my heart racing as I tried to figure out how I would get it all done the next day with so few hours of sleep. My attempt to disconnect did not work.
When I’m feeling especially stressed, I find that going to the computer and typing all of it out, tends to help me put it all into perspective. Kind of a brain dumping if you will.
Two things came out of the process for me.
The first was that I realized just how badly, I needed to hire someone to help me accomplish everything that I needed to do to grow my business. In order to grow, I needed to free myself up enough to focus on those projects that would move me forward.
The second was that I needed to find a way that would help me shut the world off for a bit every day. And, I mean EVERY day. When I don’t take the time to do this on a regular basis, I find I lose my objectivity. I become too caught up in the details and I lose balance.
Organize Your Disconnect
Remembering some advice from a Performance Coach that I work with, I decided to make a commitment to end each day with a list of the things that I wanted to accomplish the next day. Then, from that list, I began a new list. In making the new list, I looked at the one I just created and asked myself, “Which items on this list are really critical, which ones are really important to me and the growth of my business?”
Yes, there are things that have to happen every day for your practice to stay afloat. I understand. But when you look at the growth of your practice, which things on that list will move you forward? Personally, I choose 3 from that list and make a concentrated effort to accomplish them the next day. Sometimes it means breaking things down into smaller chunks so that I can accomplish a goal, but 3 is my number.
There will be days that you won’t hit all three because, well life can get in the way. But at the end of the day, look at your accomplishments, what got in the way, and what you achieved in spite of the interruptions, and place what didn’t get done at the top of the next day’s To-Do list. This really helps to put things into perspective for me and I don’t beat myself up as much for not being able to achieve Wonder Woman status.
Disconnect and Enjoy
The next thing that I did to achieve my work life balance was to find at least one thing that I enjoy doing every day. Realistically, it should be something that truly brings you joy. For me, it’s cycling. But, it can be anything that you enjoy, gardening, walking, swimming, bird watching. Whatever brings you joy and takes you away from the office setting. I started mine the very next day.
I got up at 5:45 a.m. as the sun was beginning to shine through the trees. I hopped on my bicycle and smelled the fresh dew on the ground as I peddled my way out of the subdivision watching the sprinkler systems in the neighborhood go on one by one.
I could feel the world slipping away as I found a trail that went through a slightly wooded area. I was going uphill now so I had to focus my attention on my breathing and my muscles as I climbed the hill. As I broke through the wooded area, I could see the sun much stronger now, giving light, hope and promise to a brand new day.
By the end of the ride, I earned the victory of a body covered in sweat and shaky legs. And in that moment, I realized that for an hour and a half, I pushed all of the stress of the days before out of my body. It was a fresh new start filled with hope and objectivity of what needed to be done in the day ahead. I had achieved at least for this day, Work Life Balance.
How Do You Disconnect?
We’d love to hear how you achieve work life balance in the comments below. What does this look like in your life and in your practice?
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