Today is Canadian Thanksgiving. Oh Canada…our home and native land…
Oops, sorry about that. Jumping into the anthem happens every so often, when I’m writing about Canada or at a hockey game (go Habs!)
But enough about that. Yesterday my family got together and had a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It’s always a feast, and while it’s accompanied by some rather vicious heartburn the following day, it’s a small price to pay for turkey, stuffing, potatoes, veggies and pumpkin pie.
And today, I’m taking a rare day off.
Taking time off is important.
Most people realize this; but few take advantage of it. Entrepreneurs and small business owners are particularly infamous for skipping holidays and working absurd numbers of hours. Everything rests on your shoulders, right? If you’re not managing the biz, then who is?
Still, taking some time off can be extremely important. Trying to achieve some form of work/life balance can save you. It is possible to recharge your batteries, regain your inspiration, remind yourself why you love what you do (you do love what you do, right?)
James McGovern wonders if work/life balance is unachievable for himself, but something he can help his kid with:
My son is now officially in kindergarten. Maybe the right balance is to not only spend more time with him but to also let him be a kid. So many of us parents start ruining kids and their sense of balance. Maybe it is futile for me to achieve any form of balance but maybe my kids can.
“Letting kids be kids” is a beautiful thing. But I think if James wants to help his son retain his sense of balance, it’s going to have to be something he does himself, not just teaches. “Do as I say, not as I do,” doesn’t work that well with kids. They’re perceptive little buggers.
The Monster Blog makes reference to the imbalance of work/life balance issues amongst men and women. Since women are still the #1 caregivers to children, they’ve got an even tougher job than men; how to handle work life and raising children. Still, work/life balance isn’t just a women’s issue, and men that think so are fooling themselves, hurting themselves and hurting those around them.
I used to work insane hours. The numbers don’t matter, but they were insane. All-nighters were way too commonplace. Sleeping at my desk…sleeping under my desk…you name it, I’ve slept there. Killing yourself with work is one thing, but once I started doing it to my employees by keeping them at the office through several sunsets and sunrises, I knew something had to change.
Working thousands of hours per week doesn’t guarantee success.
How many of you have said, “If I just work another couple hours…” I do it too, even though I’ve done a lot to balance my work and personal lives, it’s a hard habit to break. But it doesn’t guarantee anything except that you worked a couple more hours that you’ll never get back.
Try asking yourself these questions:
- Will my business collapse if I take a day off here and there or sneak out of work early?
- Will I reach my goals by just working…a…bit…more?
- Is missing time with my wife, husband, kids, friends and family worth it?
- Will I be more effective at work if I don’t burn-out, come to work refreshed and retain my love for what I do?
To my fellow Canadians: Happy Thanksgiving! To everyone else…sneak out of work early today, go home, go to the pub, go do something fun and enjoy yourself. Work will be there tomorrow.
Photo by Photo Patty at Flickr.