After over four years of living in our home, The Fella had our fence rebuilt yesterday. Now, it is embarrassing to admit how bad the condition of our old fence was. I never thought much of it until we got a new puppy last year (A puppy that had a Houdini-like ability to sneak through fences I might add). Ever since the Little Bit joined our family it has been a daily battle to keep her wiggly self away from the eye sore that surrounded our home & that only kinda reigned her in.
This morning I was reminded of how important it is to remember the little things that bring you joy. As I scrambled around the house getting ready for work this morning and realized I could actually let dogs outside without constant watch, I was truly happy. Every time I look at that fence I will feel a twinge of joy and be reminded of the freedom it has given me.
I recommend taking a moment to think about the little things that happened in your day today that brought you a moment of joy. I dare you not to smile…
I live three lives every day. No, I do not have multiple personalities but I sometimes feel like I am going in three different directions. My question is what is this doing to me and will I ever be able to merge my different selves? My three lives are these:
1. My work self - driven, unafraid, respectful & respected
2. My home self – hibernator, foodie, puppy wrangler, unorganized mess
3. My ideal self – you know that image you see when you close your eyes and you are everything that you want to be. For me it is a combination of laid back, social, put together, healthy person
At times I could be all of these at once but more often than not I find myself stuck on one path at a time. At this exact moment I am working on number three. As I sit at my local coffee/wine bar on a Sunday afternoon writing a blog post I am definitely operating as my Ideal Self. I have come a long way over the last two years and as I work on doing a better job of defining what I want in life it becomes easier to stay on this track. While I have these clarity moments I still find it difficult to bounce between Work Self & Home Self. I go so hard at work that I almost revert to the exact opposite of what I want to be when I get home. I have two clearly separated Selves and I find it hindering my progress toward the best version of me. Here we are back at the Work Life Balance vs. Integration conversation again.
Just last week I sat with two team members and I realized we were having this exact conversation just with a different spin. A coworker was struggling with the idea of using her personal social media site at a professional event and had no intension of merging her two worlds. In the professional culture we work in it is becoming difficult to separate what you do from who you are. Most of us have succumbed to the idea that our title is a major part of who we are as people and we should just embrace that. Social media has also impacted us by giving us ways to merge our selves more and more. It is difficult to keep your online image private and if you accept that you are one person with one message, it could be quite freeing and make life less complicated.
My earlier question was, is it possible to merge my separate Selves? My answer for now is yes. My goal this week is to work on my cohesive life message and embrace who I am. If I start to roam too far into one of my Selves I will take a moment to decide if this is really where I want to be and adjust as needed.
Work-Life Integration Revisited
A while back I posted an @LevoLeague article I read on shifting from the idea of Work-Life Balance to Work-Live Integration. I loved the thought and even tried to pitch the idea to some of my skeptical co-workers. Now that some time has gone by I am looking at this idea again. I think my immediate reaction to this idea was a great one since I wanted to dive right in and integrate my worlds right away. After a brief reality check around what my Work-Life currently looks like and how much Life-Life I actually have to live I decided I needed to really map this out to see if it was more than just a good idea and actually possible.
I am consistently guilty of plopping the Life side of things on the back burner to focus on Work. I mean, come on, that’s the job that pays me and it should be most important, right? No! I realized that maybe if I started looking at Life as a job as well, and a job that deserves my utmost respect and focus, that I might be able to create a bit more equality. My job is very demanding and is not the kind of job that is over after 40 hours in the office. It often follows me home and certainly keeps me moving while I am at the office. The option for flexibility exists but often is more difficult than it’s worth. I often cancel doctor’s appointments and forget to take my dog to the groomer. If I can’t get an appointment scheduled on my beloved Saturday morning then there is a solid chance it won’t happen.
Last week I tried an experiment. I took my long list of to do items and decided I would scratch off the whole list during the work week. I started by sacrificing Sunday with a full house cleaning and doing all of the laundry. With this out of the way I was able to focus on my list and get started. On Monday before work I picked up the dry cleaning I had dropped off a week earlier. On Tuesday I dropped the puppy off at the groomer and agreed to pick her up three hours later (in the middle of the work day!!). On Wednesday I walked away from my desk for 15 minutes and scheduled all of my doctor’s appointments for the next three months (turns out you can only call them yearly check ins if you actually go every year). Thursday I made it to my weekly happy hour, stayed for a couple hours and was home doing dishes and reading by 9pm. On Friday I walked with a co-worker to get a cup of coffee and even sat down to enjoy it before returning to work. All it took was a little planning ahead, the nerve to walk in and tell my boss that I needed to run an errand on my lunch, or take a lunch for that matter, and just do it. The work would still be there when I got back and no harm would actually be done if I took 5 minutes to update my LinkedIn status or read an online article related to my job. If I wait until the end of the day when I am tired and not likely to remember what I was suddenly inspired to do then my to-do list would simply continue to grow. This project showed me that I am capable of so much more than I get done each week and my happiness is greatly affected by this level of productivity. I am now more inspired to keep up the momentum and maybe even find more time to read and write about the things I am passionate about.
When I am asked “what I do for a living” I want to be able to answer honestly; I live my life. My family will be thrilled.