Taking a Break from the Habit of Work

In this month’s newsletter article, we mentioned Susan’s habit of working too much. She was an avowed workaholic, but that didn’t mean she didn’t work on overcoming her issues. Here is the rest of the story from the newsletter as she wrote it for a published article.

I ask you, “How can a workaholic in today’s world relax when one is on vacation?” It’s very difficult, indeed. The pull of my work is stronger than the pull of a glorious holiday…something is very wrong with this picture! Where is the balance? In my books, I talk about the “Grid of Life” and how important it is to have a balanced life. This is a perfect case of “Doctor, heal thyself!” Or as my daughter would tell me… “Mom, go read your books.”

Mark and I took some time to sit down and talk about the pull of our habit of working too much. We agreed that it was now time to slowly start to break the habit. It was Mark who came up with the first step in our actually taking steps to pull away from our habit of over-working. “Let’s plan to take Friday afternoons off from now on.” “Impossible,” I said. “We are much too busy.” There’s that old pull again! He said, (ironically having learned it from me!), “We’ll handle it!” I asked him what we should do on our Friday afternoons. “Simple,” he said, “we have missed so many movies, so let’s start going to the Friday afternoon showing of a movie we want to see and then we’ll go for a wonderful dinner.” And this is what we have been doing.

As you might expect, it took a few Fridays to resist the pull of our work. But the good news is that we can now feel ourselves being slowly pulled toward play…and a more balanced life. And it truly does feel good. Are we getting behind with our work? No, because—guess what—we have creatively found ways to handle the pile on our desks without jeopardizing our Friday afternoons of fun. And was everything we were doing THAT important? Not at all. In fact, a lot of work we were doing in the past, we were doing out of habit! We still have a way to go before feeling a sense of freedom from the unhealthy pull of work. But, I suspect the next step, which is already in the planning stages, will be easier…then easier…then easier. And I suspect that with a more balanced life, our work will become even more enjoyable than it was in the past.