photo © 2009 James Jordan | more info (via: Wylio)
Balance is key for educators and leaders when it comes to their physical, mental, and overall well-being. Don’t take this advice too lightly. We all think we can balance our professional and personal lives, yet when asked I’ll bet you more than 50% of professionals would say they don’t do enough for themselves. (and probably that they realize they are workaholics and that is OK as well) Yes, I’m a workaholic. Yes, I spend between 8-9 hours at work a day, then admittedly go home and after dinner log onto my laptop and do more work. Weekends are spent working, especially if it is cold or rainy and I can’t get outside to work in the gardens or otherwise enjoy the weather. I thrive on getting projects completed, problem solving my way through a technology issue, brainstorming learning purpose with teachers to come up with a technology tool that works, or simply learning more about a topic I need to present or understand better. I’m a lifelong learner and therefore strive to truly learn from others as much as I can (by attending webinars, reading journals/books/blogs, collaborating with my PLN…).
Two weeks ago someone at work asked me ‘Don’t you get upset with others who don’t have the same work ethic?’. I honestly responded that no, I don’t. I choose to be a workaholic, it is my choice.
So, what happened this week? I hit a wall. I have been going full steam ahead for the past 8 months and haven’t really given myself time to chill. It is easy to always be ‘work on’ when you have your email coming to every device you own. No matter where I am, I can view and respond to anyone that has an issue. For eight months I didn’t use my ‘auto-reply’ on my email because even if I took days off I was able to deal with any issues or emergencies that came up through my Blackberry. I’m not complaining… it was my choice.
This week I chose to sign out of work on Friday, and will be truly taking four whole days off. Even though I was a little panicky, I put an auto-reply on my email that read specifically that I wouldn’t be reading my email for four days. I also deactivated my work email from coming to my Blackberry. I am off the grid, or at least the work grid, for four full days.
I encourage everyone to do this as often as you need to. (and hopefully it won’t take you as long as it took me) In order to be productive, collaborative, and creative we need to take time to energize ourselves. It’s all about balance…
I’m midway through my four day work-free vacation. I have been able to take walks, work in the garden, read, and play games (why is Bubble Blast so addictive?). It has been good for my mind and body. Everyone needs a break sometimes… mine was this week.
Please, share with us how you fall off the work grid; have any advice for us workaholics?