In the second semester of my third year as a boss lady, I realized something. I need to make a concerted effort to take my life back from job. It was a busy semester. Lots of highs, lots of lows. I really and truly love my job. But, more and more, I’ve found myself consumed by it and it’s affecting my physical and mental health, I’m afraid. I’m not going to go into the details of the negative stuff like eating my feelings and bouts of sleeplessness. Instead, I’m offering up my plan to take my life back in the hopes that maybe some of this would help you too. (See also, my post on work-life balance. I’m going to practice what I preach.)
1. Email notifications on my phone. All gone. Work and personal. I’m going to get in the habit of checking morning, late morning, afternoon as I can and before I leave work. I will inform everyone that if there is an actual emergency, to call me.
2. Meditation/Contemplation. I used to be better at setting aside time for this and it slipped away. I’m putting this back in my life.
3. Reflection. I also used to be very good about writing out reflections about my day, my projects, or just even where I’m going professionally and think about what it takes to get there. That’s been lost. So, I am going to reflect every day at noon on my current projects, my future ideas and get better at writing this stuff down again. (Yes, with a pen. In notebooks.)
4. Staying ahead of the game. I’m taking back my Friday afternoons for an hour to prep for the following week. All the documents, agendas, done by this day for the following week. I successfully took back my Mondays this semester for getting actual work done (no standing meetings) and it made a lot of difference.
5. Leaving work at work. I’ve asked my partner to check me on this. I want to walk out of that wonderful library and off the beautiful campus and leave it. Right there. It will all still be there the next day. (I think, out of this whole list, this is the most important.)
6. Take a walk every day. OR ride my bike! Or both! I think it’s especially important for those of us in snowy climates to get out and get all the sunshine we can at this time of year.
7. Refocus my energy on me. I’ve expended a lot of extra energy, it feels like, on everyone else. I’m going to try and take every Friday off this summer or at least half days. Just for some me time.
8. Purge all the things that do not bring me joy. AND SAY NO SOMETIMES.
9. Keep on top of the clutter at work and at home. This stresses me out a lot. If I keep it all under control, I’m hoping to feel a little more even keel everywhere.
10. Focus on my family whenever I can. No more, “wait, this is just an email or a message about work,” when my kids are there and need my attention. They deserve my full attention and I’m going to make a serious effort on this one. As does the world’s best partner. 🙂
Some friends and I have a Facebook group to support each other in building healthier habits. I’m going to use that group as a sounding board and for support over the summer while I build some new habits and restrengthen old ones. Feel free to join us there!