Busy~

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I was born in 1959 ( I admit it!)   Life was lived a little differently back then.  All businesses closed at 5pm.  On Sundays everything, except restaurants and churches, were closed.  The opening of the store 7-11 was a big deal “back then” because no one opened that early or closed that late!! There were only 2 or 3 television channels and usually only one television in the house. Sports competitions only took place before or after school, never in the evenings or on Sundays.   These elements created some natural boundaries for family life.

Today life looks a lot different.  Business is always open via the internet and even locally stores remain open well into the evening.  TV shows are streaming day and night with or without a television, sports teams play late in the evening and all through the weekend, and we don’t really ever leave work because we carry the possibility of constantly working on our mobile devices.  There aren’t really any natural boundaries for family life.

I think some of the changes have been great – I can stay in touch with my family , friends, and even clients wherever I am; any time of the day.  I can easily shop at home and watch my favorite shows at my leisure! I can do my job from anywhere!  The downside is that these opportunities can also keep us too busy!

In his book “Crazy Busy” Kevin Deyoung  expresses this dilemma this way ” Our lives have no limits. In all our lifetimes we’ve seen an exponential expansion in the number of opportunities for children and adults, opportunities for leisure and for travel, opportunities for education,  there are endless opportunities for church and community involvements.  In this generation we even have opportunities to make a difference around the world. Opportunities are endless!  No wonder we are so busy!”

From young mothers to energetic entrepreneurs; busyness impacts the quality of life…even with the best of intentions.   I acknowledge that there are “seasons” where our schedules will be fuller than others; yet when these “seasons” become our lifestyle we  might need to make some fresh considerations.   In my 16 years as a Life Coach I have readily issued Permission Slips to leaders helping them to feel the freedom to re-group and re-fuel!  In order to live a healthy life full of rich relationships engaged in professions that we love, we all need to regularly assess our busy schedules making certain we are applying time and attention to areas that truly matter to us!

Is there a valuable relationship that needs your attention?  A hobby that needs to be dusted off? A book you’d like to read?  A gym membership unused? A bible that needs to be cracked open again? Pots and pans that could be used to create healthy meals? If you had a free day would you use it to catch up on work or would you grab an opportunity to engage in a cup-filling activity?  What guard rails might you need in your schedule?

After you assess these questions I give you a Permission Slip, today, to catch your breath! 🙂

Is your “Culture” killing you?

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I spent time, recently, with a multi-talented friend working in a key role for a large start-up company in the silicon valley; her job offered lots of opportunity and monetary gain.

“What a GREAT opportunity!” she had been told over and over again.

Behind the scenes she was working 11 hours days while commuting for 2 more. The culture of the company praised those that were available 24/7, those who worked weekends were rewarded with a strong pat on the back, those who gave all they had for the company were the ones who gained greater influence~So the entire culture serves the company without  any guard rails.

Here’s the reality~ my friend worked very hard and used her time efficiently and intentionally.  She would continue to answer email and texts long into the evening; she was never off work. No matter how well she used her time the work was simply never done!

Parkinsons law reads like this, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.  If we continue to make time “available” the time will continually fill up!

Through her exhausted tears she honestly expressed that she had lost sight of her own priorities for the sake of her work culture.  She barely saw her daughter and husband, never took time for exercise, ate on the run, and had no energy filling activities at all! She didn’t look like the vibrant lady I have known for so long; she looked tired.

Doesn’t seem like a good trade off to me.

It was amazing to see her resolve as we discussed creating a plan for her personal/work life where she intentionally communicated that she would be leaving working at 5:30, she would stay off her phone in the evening, and she would incorporate exercise into her morning routine. She clearly recognized that the company culture would kill her if she didn’t set the guard rails needed to survive.

What about your work culture?  Have you lost sight of your personal values to embrace the values of the company?  Have you become consumed with being available 24/7?  If so, has there been a cost? Honestly access your situation and ask yourself this question:

Is it time for you to set some guard rails for yourself?

In an article written by Angel Chernoff she says that after conducting a study she found these to be the biggest regrets people expressed when nearing death:

  • “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
  • “I wish I didn’t work so hard my whole life.”
  • “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”

Thoughts worth considering. 🙂