Monday, July 13, 2009

Rechargable Batteries - 7-15-09 Editor's Column

Everyone I have ever talked with or met by chance has at some point brought up the topic of working and doing too much of it without a break.

We often put in long hours at work and then come home to put in a short amount of time with family or friends, often times watching television or spending time on the computer before going to bed and heading back to work the next day.

In a sense, we are doing what a professor once told me to avoid, if at all possible - we are becoming what we do. We go to work each day and we don’t stop to think about the time between when we leave work and when we arrive the following day. We are what we do.

However, at some point, the battery that keeps us moving along our seemingly set path starts to run down and if we don’t take the time to recognize the fact that we need to recharge, we may find ourselves not only not enjoying our work, but dreading that next trip to the office, and the one after that and so on.

So becomes the question in all of this: How do we recharge those batteries? Well, it has a little to do with separating yourself from what you do.

The best way to approach work is to treat it as something important in your life, but also something separate from who you are as a person. If you allow yourself to become your work, you are involving yourself with it every hour of every day which, over time, can put a strain on you and lead you to look unfavorably at the things related to your job.

Instead, try leaving as much at the office as possible when you head home each day, both in terms of physical work and emotional attachment. While there will obviously be some transference, the more you leave behind, the less you have to get in the way of enjoying your life - to enjoy being who you are.

Once you’ve accomplished this, the rest is easy: Do the things that best fit your personality and let you be yourself.

For example, I have a weekly poker game that I play with my friends. I enjoy swimming with my friends and my wife. I like going out to hear live music and be around people I care about. I also enjoy playing video games, driving and engaging in sports.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy my job. In fact, because my activities outside of work and the fact that I take time to recharge my batteries and separate myself from what I do, I enjoy my job that much more. I enjoy it because I don’t have to think about it every hour of the day and when I come in to work, it doesn’t feel like I never left.

Take some time today to think about how you recharge your batteries - if at all - and how you can separate what you do from who you are.

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