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Friday, July 5, 2013

Work-Life Balance: Stop The Work Creep from Taking Over

It's all a matter of perspective

Gaining Perspective on Work-Life Balance

Why don't we complain we play too much or that play is getting in the way of our work? How is it we allow work to creep into our play life but we rarely allow play to infiltrate our work life? The answer may surprise you.

To understand the problem let's look at what happens in another context first--in the story of the smoking priest.

One day a priest who enjoyed smoking approached his superior to find out if it was alright for him to smoke while he prayed.
"Father, may I smoke while I pray?"


"Would it be alright if I pray while I smoke?"


It's all in how you say it or think it, isn't it?

We learn early in life it is not okay to play on paid work time. But just like the smoking priest--in our attempt to get ahead of the game at work--we trick ourselves into believing we are exerting self-determination by reversing the question we ask our self.

"Self, is it alright if I play while I work?"


"Would it be alright if I work while I play?"

Since no one is paying us to play it's our choice if we want to work while we play--right? Besides, it's only for now......and that's when the work creep begins to infiltrate the rest of our life.

The Work Creep

The Work Creep Masquerading as Fun

I can hear you wanting to argue--what if I really enjoy my work? What if my work IS my play?

If that is the truth, then by all means continue to live life exactly as you are. If you are leading a fully satisfying life that is fun and you feel you have a good balance in which you are contributing to the world without feeling overburdened, overworked or stressed by work you don't need to change anything.

On the other hand, if you look within and find you've allowed 'the work creep' to infiltrate your life masquerading as fun--but at the end of the day you're left feeling exhausted, cranky, under-appreciated, misunderstood, and wanting to lash out at people--perhaps it's time to ask different questions to put the fun and balance back into your life.

 Questions to Ask Yourself

  • Are you a fun person to work with? Do colleagues seek you out or do they avoid you whenever they can?
  • Do friends and family think it's fun to spend time with you or do they walk on eggshells around you?
  • When you walk into a room at work do you feel a warm welcome or do you meet with averted eyes?
  • Do people at work and at home say you are too intense--and you need to put the work down?
  • Are you able to be calm, clear and focused at work or do you feel frazzled most of the time?
  • Do you feel annoyed by people asking you questions or are you able to address issues at work with a sense of calm?
  • Are you able to put the work down---or do you get so revved up you begin to think you are the only one who can do the job right and put in too many hours as a result? Have people asked you to stop putting in so many hours? Have others asked you to get out of the way so they can do their work without your interference?
  • Do these questions make you squirm? Do you think these questions are directed at you? Are you brave enough to ask the people around you to answer these questions about you--and then take the answers to heart?

Don't let the Work Creep get the Better of You
You are the only one who sees behind your eyes and knows the truth for you. If the answers to these questions left you feeling like the work creep has permeated your life find a way to put the work down. Sometimes just pulling back a little--like taking one day off--will provide you the space you need to infuse your life with some real fun.
Fun with FUN

First known use of word FUN: 1727
Origin of word FUN:   English dialect fun to hoax, perhaps alteration of Middle English fonnen, from fonne dupe.

Definition of FUN: What provides amusement or enjoyment; playful often boisterous action or speech. A mood for finding or making amusement
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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.
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