There's nothing impressive about constantly proclaiming to the world how much of an overworked, exhausted workaholic you are, and how stressed and depleted you are because of it. And there's nothing appealing about parents who fail to model a work-life balance for their children. Always busy on the phone, constantly checking and sending emails and texts and being consumed elsewhere while your family is vying for your attention isn't healthy. Always missing out on your children’s special events or family meals because of work will destroy relationships and families. Falling prey to the all-work-and-no-play syndrome is not living.
I understand that being passionate about work is a great thing, but I also believe the key is knowing what is work and what is not; this is where systems and priorities need to be put in place. Ensure that your work time is work time, and your family or playtime is dedicated to exactly that. Schedule this time in so it doesn’t get overlooked.
It's your responsibility to do your upmost to stick to it, because your family doesn’t want half of your attention. On your day off, make sure it's actually your day off, when you can have quality time and stay connected by giving loved ones your undivided attention. They'll appreciate this, and you will also reap the benefits.
Waking up every day and instantly reaching for your iPhone, laptop or iPad from the bedside table to check emails or log on to social media before your feet even touch the ground is not something you want your children to imitate, right? Some people simply like to announce their hectic schedules to the world, as it gives them a sense of self-importance, and it gives their ego a feeling of achievement and superiority.
When did we become so busy and important that we needed to be available and responsive every minute of every day? When did we start feeling the need to let the rest of the world know everything we’re doing? Oh, that’s right — when we allowed social media and the internet to take over our lives. We have become fixated and obsessed, and many people experience technological separation anxiety when away from it.
I know this type of technology-obsessed person very well! She often likes to pay me a visit and do battle with me, creating chaos and trying to take me away from what’s really important in my life. So as soon as she appears, I know it’s time to stop, reassess and bring balance back to my life, and this can sometimes be extremely difficult as she likes to take over and control. However, thanks to awareness, a powerful tool that helps me develop skills to stay on course, I'm able to notice the signs and take responsibility for my life. When you know your priorities and are clear on your limits, you're less likely to be taken off your path or become overwhelmed.
I believe being too consumed by work, not knowing when to switch off or constantly being fixated on things that take you away from your real priorities, are all pretty good indications that something is missing from your life. Maybe it’s an emotional imbalance, especially if your health is being affected and those around you who are on the receiving end of your frenzy are being neglected.
I'm also certain that the people who have to listen to you whine and complain about being overworked aren't thinking, "Wow, that's so appealing and inspiring — I want to be just like that! She/he is such a joy to be around — I too want solely to 'live to work!'"
All it shows is that you've given up taking responsibility for your own life, and in doing so, you've lost all control. You really have no one to blame for your unhappiness and stress, because you are responsible for allowing yourself to get into such a state of disarray.
But the good news is: If you created it, you can undo it.