You love your job and you want to get ahead. You want it so much you dream about it sometimes and wake up energized to get to work and start working. When it’s time to go home, you’re already making plans to get further ahead and how you’ll start tomorrow. In other words, you’re a go-getter. Work is your life and that doesn’t feel like a sacrifice, exactly. So what’s this whole thing about work-life balance?
Can you really have a deep, involved personal life, a hobby, and plenty of “down time” while dedicated to your career?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes. You can and should try to balance your work and your personal life. It’s just that the work-life balance of a go-getter is going to look different from someone who truly needs to spend time away from work to feel right.
So as fellow go-getters who also dream about work and know where you’re coming from, we are here to offer a few pointers on how to enrich your personal life without sacrificing dedication to your career.
Make Friends With People Who Enjoy Talking about Work
It’s important to have friends with people who share your passion. If your passion is your work, that’s great! Not only do you love what you do, but you can connect with other go-getters who are the same way. Make friends with your coworkers or, better yet, colleagues outside of work who enjoy sharing their stories of conquering projects and swapping strategies on getting ahead. Find people in a similar line of work or, to mix things up, make friends with people who do something you don’t, but that you find fascinating to talk about.
The difference is in the small-talk. People who share your passion for projects and achievement will be more enjoyable to talk to and have more fun talking about your projects and goals. Compatibility and relatability is key for forming strong friendships, especially for workaholics.
Get Into an Ambitious Hobby
If most hobbies seem like time-wasters to you, that’s because they’re for other types of people. There are times when you need to do something other than work to keep your mind limber and your creativity flowing. So pick a hobby that feels like an achievement. For me, I play sports and music. They both act as a great creative release. Learn to build things with carpentry or teach yourself to make websites. Consider writing a few essays on things you find yourself mentally-ranting about, or take yourself camping in the woods to get in touch with your survival-self.
There are plenty of hobbies that are actualizing and feel like accomplishments even while you take your mind off of work. The ability to relax without twiddling your thumbs is important and the right hobby can make the difference. Find your off-work passion and spend a weekend on it. You’ll come back to work feeling energized and inspired in a way you haven’t in months or even years.
Pick Your Best Work Stories and Experiences to Share with Family
If you have family members and/or a partner who doesn’t really get your work passion, that’s okay. You may not get their passions either. But you can pick out the best parts to share. Cultivate stories about your favorite projects or funniest coworker moments or greatest victories to help your loved ones understand you and to connect when it’s time to spend time together. Make sure that when you talk about work, it’s rewarding for the other person to hear, and is possible for them to engage with. Some days I drive my wife bananas with my stories, and other times she’s my rock and provides me with incredible professional feedback.
Really put effort into listening and understanding their stories and why they spend free time the way they do.
Love is a Verb, Love is a Doing Word
Take time for the people you love. Commit to off-work time like you would a project at work. Over the weekend, not feeling like “loafing around” is a gift you can give to your family. Instead of compromising or working through the weekend, take your kids to play in the park or schedule projects like repainting their bedrooms together.
Plan special date weekends with your partner, or spend Saturday afternoon with a sibling or parent. It’s okay to make plans and execute them as long as your “success qualifier” is the happiness of everyone involved. In fact, making love a project you can commit to can be one of the best things you can do for the family by making “off-time” into unforgettable memories instead of empty afternoons.
Every Now and Then, Relax
And sometimes, just sometimes, take the time to truly relax. If you find yourself alone in the house for an evening or you just finished a highly stressful project, it can help to force yourself to slow down and commit some of your time to being quiet in body and mind. Draw a bath, or grab a mug of tea and sit out on your deck to listen to the crickets. Clear your thoughts of work and plans and let your mind wander. Reflect. See what thoughts and feelings bubble to the top when you make room for them. These moments of quiet are good for anyone and will help you to grow as a person in addition to constantly advancing your career.
If you’re bad at relaxing and just hearing the quiet of your house, set a timer. Start at five or ten minutes, then slowly set longer timers. If your timer hasn’t gone off, you’re free to continue relaxing with your eyes closed without worrying about wasting or losing track of time. This trick works.
Being a dedicated go-getter is a fantastic thing to be, and your work-life balance doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. But you should take time with the people you care about, do things other than your job to keep your mind limber, and every now and then let your deeper thoughts and feelings get a little room to breathe. For more insights on how to follow your dreams and treat yourself right in the same life, contact us. We’re probably still up working.