August 15, 2005

Good day, team,

The coach’s challenge this week is about balancing work life and personal life. It may seem a strange subject to bring up in the midst of summer vacations, but what better time to think about this topic when the nice weather beckons us to enjoy it and take some time off?

I’ve often gone on vacation only to find myself more stressed than refreshed when I’m done. Vacation has more to do with a state of mind and how we spend our vacation than how much time we take off. How often do we try to use the skills that make us effective at work-organizing, controlling, directing-to make our vacation a success, only to find that it is exactly these skills that are not compatible with a state of rest and relaxation? Putting ourselves in a relaxed mode is a real trick when we’re generally moving quickly and efficiently throughout our days.

The key to balancing work and personal time seems to be in our ability to allow ourselves to be aware of where we are and what we’re doing when we’re doing it. If we’re still thinking about work while we’re talking to our families, we really are not very effective at communicating with them. If we’re lying in the hammock on the weekend worrying about something at work, how much are we able to relax? Conversely, if we’re in a meeting dreaming about our upcoming vacation, we’re obviously not being effective at work.

This week, try spending at least 30 minutes each day (outside of work!) just relaxing and allowing yourself to “vacate.” Try not to put any demands on yourself. In the words of Josephine Rathbone, “If we could learn how to balance rest against effort, calmness against strain, quiet against turmoil, we would assure ourselves of joy in living and psychological health for life.”

Have a great week!


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