Tag Archives: Balance

Is Being Busy a Badge of Honor?

It has been two months and a day since my last blog post. This fact saddens me but the reality is I haven’t had time to fit writing into my schedule lately. Depressing to a degree, but the truth nonetheless.

Over the last two months, I’ve been to five different states, worked three different events and have had to make the choice on what the priority was that minute, hour, day and week. Some might call this busy and I did too, until I read a powerful article from the Harvard Business Review, sent to me by an esteemed colleague. The two-page article, “Why we Humblebrag About Being Busy,” should resonate with anyone who’s ever said “Oh I’m so busy,” in response to the simple question “how are you?”

busyThere’s so much to obsessed over in this article. You can bet that mine is highlighted, underlined and has been read approximately four times. In short, an epidemic is occurring where people are so proud of being busy that their lives are becoming a giant rat race of more. The more bubble, as author Greg McKeown suggests is enabled by “smart phones, social media, and extreme consumerism. The result is not just information overload, but opinion overload.” That thought, opinion overload, struck me as the greatest factor aiding the growth of everyone’s more bubble.

The opinion overload epidemic has been aided by advancing technology that allows us instantly post on a zillion different forums how late we’re working or actual photos of the work we have left to do. Twenty years ago, people didn’t feel the need to share about their overtime because there wasn’t technology for them to make this private information public. Now, it’s a constant competition of who is the busiest and when translated that means the most successful, happy, satisfied or important.

McKeown suggests four helpful tips to become more of an Essentialist or the type of person who actually read books instead of strolling through Facebook before bed. I’d like to add two more suggestions on how to become an essentialist:

1) Stop playing the comparison game. It does not matter what someone else is doing at work, at home, for their community or on the moon. This is your life, your journey to forge and I bet you are doing just fine.

2) Believe in balance. Some days, I have time to write  a blog post and exercise, but not all will be like that. Some days work wins and others my family come first. Priorities are allowed to shift as often as you need them to.

I am no where near being an essentialist but this article has inspired me to try harder. Being busy aka not sleeping, missing family time and being generally unhappy is not the badge of honor I want to wear any more. Join me in the essentialist movement and please share your tips below!

I’d like to add two more: work smarter, not harder and stop playing the comparison game. Most supervisors are not going to hover over your desk as you work. They trust you to get the work done in the most efficient, best way possible. Maybe that means you work 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. Or maybe you go to yoga on your lunch break. Figure out how to be more efficient and make that your routine. Working more hours does not always make you more productive.

Oh the comparison trap, how it ruins lives! Please do not scroll through Facebook or any other social media site and compare yourself to your co-workers, neighbors, relatives, friends, etc. It unhealthy and unproductive to make comparisons when no two lives operate in the same way. We each need to live our own life, on our terms. Sure, it’s fine to want more but not at the expense of your health, family, sanity or anything other life necessity.

Balancing The Growing Pains

“Growing up is never easy. You hold onto things that were; you wonder what’s to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be – other days, new days, days to come. The thing is, we didn’t have to hate each other for getting older; we just had to forgive ourselves for growing up.” – The Wonder Years

Like many, I spend this past weekend relaxing and enjoying my Monday off. I headed down the shore with my two of my best friends to dance the night away. We watched the sun come up, slept for a couple of hours then ventured to the beach. Some would say we took it a little too far, but I call it making memories. However, we paid for our fun yesterday at work.

The last year has been filled with so many changes that haven’t been experienced by everyone in my group of friends. A handful of us are employed, commute to work and spend 8+ hours a day in front of a computer. Others are in graduate school; some are living on their own and others are still in school. All of our lives are different. At times, it doesn’t feel like all we do is work and yearn for the good old college days.

havefunOne thing I’ve learned in working during the last six months is that everyone deserves a work-life balance. Too often, you hear that term used with working parents and not with newly employed young adults. One way I’ve gotten a handle on this real-world thing is by making sure I balance everything in my life. The work-life balance is important for young adults because it:

  • Prevents burnout: As new faces in the workplace, most of us are eager to prove ourselves and will take on multiple assignments in order to do so. While this is admirable, it isn’t always realistic. 
  • Helps our friendships: See the quote above! My friends and I had a year of adjustments with misunderstandings about schedules, budgets and attitudes. We are all working so hard we tend to forget about our friendships…and that each of us is struggling with the adjustment. The frustration of opposite schedules and long-distance relationships often proves to be a challenge. BUT, we all are learning to balance and keep one another in check.
  • Improves the quality of our work: This speaks for itself. Working on a project at the 20th hour isn’t good for anyone involved and certainly won’t be your best work.
  • Puts the focus on our well-being: Work is important but so is our health. In college, your health is typically thrown out the window. Being conscious of the work-life balance allows for focusing on balance in all forms like what you’re eating and how often you’re working out.
  • Shows our parents we can do: Mom and Dad need to realize the work-life balance is a real thing now that their babies are adults. They’ll have to adjust too!

The team members I work with often help me achieve a better work-life balance. My friends and family also keep everything in perspective too. This weekend showed me that it is perfectly fine to take a much-needed break and enjoy time with my friends. I plan to focus more on the work-life balance and hope you do too!

What’s The Normal Work Day?

Since starting my full-time job in November, I am constantly pondering all aspects of working in the real world. From outfit choices to commuting, I have an opinion on most everything. Within the last month, my friends and I were discussing our typical work day. Of course, the wheels in my head started turning about what the normal work day looks like. Points I’d like to bring up for discussion:

1. There’s No Such Thing As Normal: Yes, the “normal” workday used to be from 9am until 5pm. But that is a thing of the past. With telecommuting and more flexibility, people work around their schedules not the company’s. Honestly, that’s the best way to ensure productivity and success.

Work Life Balance signpost2. Define Your Limits: My goal is to be at my desk no later than 8:30am and to leave no later than 6pm. That’s what works best for me, not everyone. That time span changes if I work from home. Know yourself, when you’re most productive and when you have to shut it down.

3. Each Industry is Different: Teachers clearly work different hours than Accountants. PR professionals are typically “on-call” like doctors in case major news breaks. You must see the differences and respect them. Just because your friend’s day ends at 5pm doesn’t mean yours will. You’ll eventually figure out how to work with each other’s conflicting schedules.

4. Forget the Fear: You are allowed to leave at 5pm if your work is done. That was something I absolutely had to get over. Just because others are still working doesn’t mean you have to. Also, those other people might not have been at their desk at 8am like you were.

With new technology and workplace flexibility, the normal workday is a thing of the past. In reality, each day should and probably will be different. What does your typical day look like? Do you agree with the points above?

Does your week look like this?!

Does your week look like this?!

I Want It All

As promised, this 30 Days of Truth Challenge will absolutely end up taking more than 30 days. But, I made a deal with myself and with my friend Amber that I would write about all 30 prompts. That being said, let me introduce you to prompts 5 and 6.

Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.

There is a lot I’d like to do during my lifetime. As usual, it is hard for me to narrow it down to one goal. When I say I want it all,  I am not lying. For me, that is defined by having a successful career and having a family. Being a working mom, in my opinion, is the hardest combination of jobs out there and feels like a lofty goal. Since I was tiny, my mom has balanced this combination. She has excelled in her career and still managed to coach my softball team and have dinner on the table almost every night. I think she did a fantastic job and am glad I had an example of a woman who was career oriented and family oriented at the same time. I know she struggled with it, as many women do. I see it everywhere: women who are passionate about their careers and adore their families. It becomes quite the balancing act.

careermomsSuccess has a different definition for each individual. When I think about what I hope to accomplish in my lifetime, about what success means to me, I think about striking that balance between professional and mom. I want to be able to want to go to work everyday, feeling passionate about what I do and making an impact in some way. At some point, I absolutely want my own PR firm and maybe even a charity organization. I want a family, to raise my kids and help mold them into happy, responsible adults. I already know the balance will have to shift and I won’t get it right everyday. But when I see my future, this is the vision I have for myself.

I’ve always thought about what I want to do in life, but never about something I don’t want to do. Sure, there are jobs I won’t ever want or foods I’ll never eat. But those are small things when you think about your life. After thinking long and hard, I realized I don’t want to ever see someone die. I know this is probably going to happen regardless of my opinion. I don’t want to see someone take their last breath and I especially don’t want to make the life or death decision for someone else. I’m sure one day I will have to make that painful decision for a loved one, to choose their destiny for them. But, if I could escape life without witnessing death, I would.

What do you hope to do during your life? Anything you absolutely wish you won’t have to do? Please share with me!

Family Fridays: The F Word

Again, my apologies for the lack of posts this week. I was in Chicago for work and just didn’t have enough time. Expect a few posts about my time in Chicago next week! I decided to combine my Family Friday post with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Today’s prompts are:

Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.

For me, the word forgiveness is the ultimate “F” word. It has never been easy for me to forgive people and let things go. Looking around, it isn’t all that easy for my family members or friends. In my opinion, the problem lies in expectations. Most of the people in my life have high even unrealistic expectations for one another. When that’s the case, the only way to go is down.

I must forgive myself for having high expectations. Too often, I set up these insanely high expectations for people and place them on a pedestal. When you regard someone so highly, the only way they can go is down. Within the last year, most of the people in my life have disappointed me and not met my expectations…because what I expected was just too much. I learned that building people up will only cause them to eventually fall down. I need to forgive myself for being unrealistic and in some instances, letting myself get SO caught up in that disappointment that I ruined a relationship. This is yet another example of a part of my life that needs more balance.

There’s a pretty long list of people I need to forgive. Instead of naming names (which would become a giant headache), I’ll give you a general example. As my good friend Niki pointed out in her blog today, I tend to put everyone else’s happiness before my own. Like I’ve said before, I really enjoy helping and investing in people. Sometimes, people take advantage of that. To those people, I forgive you for walking all over me and for taking advantage. That being said, I wouldn’t ever change what I did for those people. I just wish the relationship had been more mutually beneficial.

It’s especially hard for me to strike a balance of expectations and selflessness with my family. These are the people who are most important to me, so naturally I’d do anything for them. Over time, I’ve learned that family lets you down and expecting nothing will ultimately lead to less disappointment. It’s been hard for me to accept that certain members won’t rise to the occasion or sacrifice for me. True, you don’t do things to be repaid. But, it’s nice sometimes for others to go out of their way for you when you have for them.

I tend to forgive but never really do forget things that happened. Add this to the list of goals I have for 2013: to let more things go, especially insignificant occurrences. As cliché as it is, life is simply too short.

Is there anyone you need to forgive? Have expectations played a role in your personal relationships? Please share!

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