What is success? Success differs from person to person. For most it is a blend of financial, personal, and professional achievement. The subjectivity of what is success is the root of people’s confusion about the connection between work and life balance. We long for the weekend or time off and then continue to check work email throughout the weekend, or bring work home from the office. The key to our success is resolving to take our time off as seriously as our work. Our time off, is our time to recharge. “The time to relax is when we don’t have time for it,” Sydney Harris.
When we sleep, we do not check out emails. Our bodies are in a state of recharge. Just as an electric car must receive a full charge in order to run for its expected output and at optimum level, we must take time to recharge. A survey of successful people showed that taking time to recharge was the most important contributing factor to their success. So let’s explore what we need to start doing to help us break free from our limited belief that success comes at a price.
Mohandas Gandhi said, “There is more to life than increasing its speed.” There are deliberate actions that we can take to help us slow down, unplug, and recharge so that we can reach a higher level of success, happiness, and sense of personal fulfillment.
- Set Boundaries. Our time off of work is a time that is usually full of errands, activities, and for some, more work. Many of these things we cannot control; we must get groceries, clean house, and attend Aunt Mary’s birthday, but we can allocate our time more wisely. By setting distinct time frames, you can still check your work email on the weekend (if absolutely necessary) and do the yard, but set aside times for these activities. For example, set an hour, between certain times for email- and that’s it! Be as strategic about what you will allow to fill your day as you are with your decisions at work.
- Give Your Health a Time Slot. We need to take care of ourselves. Whether you can fit in a full Cross fit class, go for a walk, or do yoga, you need to take time to focus on your physical well-being. You can’t do your job if your body falls apart, so take the time to care for it!
- Your Mind Needs Time. One of the most underappreciated organs of the body is the brain. We think of our heart health, skin, and physical fitness, but we often overlook our brain health. We need our time off for our mental health. By increasing relaxation and joyful experiences, your brain is better able to shift into its natural creative state. Our thoughts are a beautiful companion. Take time to meditate or just sit and think. This slowdown of the mind through reflexive activity can help you find creative solutions to some of your most challenging problems by reconnecting your mind with your body and your present state of being.
- Appreciate What You Have. Our family, pets, home, cars, and so on are not guaranteed to be in our lives forever. Take the time to truly appreciate your loved ones and enjoy the “things” you have accumulated as you do so. Often we get so caught up in the accumulation of “stuff” that we forget to enjoy and appreciate what we do have. Appreciate who and what you have in your life. Lee Iacocca said, “No matter what you have done for yourself of humanity, if you can’t look back having given love and attention to your own family, what have you truly accomplished?” Tomorrow is never a guarantee. In your appreciative state, you will be better positioned to receive more.
- Continually Improve. At work we strive to continually improve sales, processes, and performance, why not in our personal lives? Our “off time” is the perfect time to pick up a book, take a cooking class, or learn to salsa dance. “View life as a continual learning experience,” Dennis Waitley. Seek ways to increase your knowledge, skills, and abilities- consider even a class in Tai Chi!
- Be Generous- Be generous with your time when it contributes to your well-being. One way to do this is by volunteering. Whether it is volunteering to coach or to help out with your child’s baseball team, church, or at the local food bank, giving to others can bring a very rewarding sense of accomplishment. You must keep in mind your boundaries, however, as nothing should dominate your time and cause imbalance in your “downtime.”
- Chill. Successful people know what to do and when to do it. They also know that there is a time to do nothing at all and just “chill.” We get so hung up on going, going, going that we think that action is the fundamental component of success- when actually, it is through slowing down that we can become more aware, cognizant, and prepared to take action.
Jolene Church is a mindfulness practitioner, success coach, and motivational speaker. Her latest book, Thinking 101: Fundamentals of a Successful Mindset, helps people break down conditioned barriers in our thinking that inhibits our success. www.SuccessfulThinkingMindset.com