As we get older we become more aware of certain things. For me, one of those things is the finite quality of time. I now seem to be more aware that the time I have left to live is limited (hopefully not severely limited, but limited just the same). With that realization I now pay more attention to exactly how I spend my time.
Many people spend most of their waking hours at work. This is certainly true during the week. If we include the free time on the weekend then we probably have more total waking hours not doing work. However consider that for many people the typical workday exceeds eight hours. Also, most people probably do at least some work related activities over the weekend. In that context those work/non-work hour totals become much closer.
People who truly enjoy what they do for work have a dilemma. On the one hand, if a person truly enjoys what they do then it makes sense that they would want to spend as much time as possible with those activities. On the other hand the more time spent on “work” the less time is left for family and other important interests.
My wife is an elementary school principal who thoroughly enjoys her work. She has always enjoyed being an educator and the rewards that profession brings. But as there are only so many hours in the day, balancing one’s enjoyable work activities with other obligations can be challenging.
While many organizations claim to promote the importance of a “work life balance”, the reality in the workplace is often different. It would be a rare manager that encourages an over enthusiastic employee to work fewer hours. Still we all have a personal responsibility to keep things in perspective and balance our personal and professional lives.
One way to help develop this perspective is to regularly take stock of your life and what in it is important to you. Don’t wait until you get older or until some personal crisis occurs but develop the habit now. Evaluate what is really important to you and examine how much time you spend on those things versus how much time you spend on the other stuff.
Take a moment and consider the following:
- Important vs. Urgent – Stephen Covey used to talk about spending time on things that are important versus spending time on things that are urgent. Covey was mostly talking about organizing your time at work but the concept can be applied beyond the workplace. Things at work tend to be urgent; things away from work tend to be important.
- Do You Enjoy the Work You Do? – You should. Life is too short to spend time doing things you don’t enjoy. If you don’t like what you do chances are you’re not very good at it anyway. Do something you enjoy and try to figure out how to make money doing it.
- Do You Enjoy the People With Whom You Work? – Again, life is too short to spend time around people you don’t enjoy being around. If you’re in a dysfunctional work environment with bad people find someplace else to work. You have many more opportunities than you think.
Please take some time to consider and share your thoughts on the following:
- Do you enjoy and look forward to going to work each day?
- Are you exceptional at what you do?
- Would others say you are exceptional at what you do?
©2017 Joseph T Drammissi