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Well, it’s time you get a life! It’s okay to take your job seriously, to be a stickler for professionalism and sure it’s wonderful to take your responsibilities seriously. However, you have to be a bit careful when you allow your job to become your LIFE.

Give your work your best effort, stand up for your beliefs, but be careful that you don’t become a one-dimensional robot that just has his or her tape programmed to talk about how much work he has to do. If you notice people by the water cooler scatter when you come by, I’m afraid to break the news to you. They know it… they don’t want you to pass that energy on to them. They see that you have no life.

Yikes…maybe I’m being a little harsh, but I’ve been there, so I know. While working at HBO as a Director for a website, I worked long hours. My office became my second home. There was a leopard rug (don’t laugh), candles, incense, soft jazz and dim lights. My co-workers would always joke around about it being like a lounge and that I should serve martinis during meetings. LOL But I realized I made it so comfortable, because that’s where I spent most of my waking moments. It’s pathetic when I think about it now. Sure, I was getting a great salary and yeah I loved what I did, however what was seriously lacking was some ‘me time’. Other parts in my life weren’t fulfilled, because of this ‘love’ for my job.

Now, being a ‘self-bosser’ for over eight years (KNOCK ON WOOD), I cringe when I see others with this obsession, especially, if it’s not their own company. I see it sucking the spirit right out of them. I was inspired to write about this topic by a long time friend of mine, because he’s going through a rough period in his career where work is all he knows. Although he’s extremely successful, he’s not the same person, because work is all he talks about and being at the top is all he lives for. The end result is that he barely has enough time for hobbies, family or friends. He’s only 28 and stressed out beyond belief. You can look at him and tell he has tightness in the back of his neck as his brain tinkers away thinking about “work, work, work.”

That tightness in the back of my neck is a feeling that I don’t miss. But even though I do get stressed out sometimes…knowing how to strive for balance and a healthy life has prevented it from occurring. Now the question for you is: Has your JOB become your LIFE? Have you changed as a person and let your spirit fade? Take this simple quiz and see if you are showing symptoms of a workaholic.

Answer yes or no to each question.

1. Do I have a ‘me-time day’? One day out of the week that I use to focus on me and me alone? (This means no business calls, meetings, or business reading.)

2. Can I spend time away from work and not think about business issues?

3. Do I talk to my spouse, friends and family about topics OTHER than business or my day at work?

4. Am I spending quality time with my family?

5. Do I have a hobby?

6. Do I still have friends? (outside of the office)

7. Do I laugh and smile as much as I used to?

If you answered NO to three or more of these questions I’d like you to take a seat, light a candle, close your eyes, and repeat this chant. “I must get a life. I must get a life. I must get a life.” I’m just teasing ya, but seriously folks, here are some real pointers to help you recapture your true self and not get lost in WORK.

Find Balance and Reduce Stress

1. Get a physical: Get an accurate assessment of your health. What’s your cholesterol count? Your blood pressure? How much do you weigh (and should you lose any to better your health)? If you are currently experiencing symptoms of stress, your physician will assess their significance and prescribe a treatment.

2. Tap into yourself EVERY DAY: Meditate, pray, chant or say an affirmation…whatever works for you spiritually can serve as a great relaxation technique.

3. Eat healthy and begin a journey towards a healthier lifestyle: Health is a buffer against stress. Increasing your physical stamina through diet, exercise and rest will help you combat the stressors in your life.

4. Improve your time management: Take a course or purchase a book to learn the best ways to manage your time AND your energy.

5. Take energizing breaks:

– If time or money doesn’t permit you to take a full-fledged vacation, then escape to a location close to home for a weekend retreat. Make sure people call you only for an emergency!

– Treat yourself to a day-spa for some pampering. A massage or facial will always do the trick!

– You can also do something as simple as going to your public library or book store. Browse the travel section, photography books or fiction. Peruse anything that lets your mind go on a mini-vacation.

– Take a walk in the park and bring a book and just relax. (Non-work related reading only guys!)

6. Day Dream!: “When you think about pleasurable things like sex or food, PET scans show different patterns lighting up in your brain than when you think about work or something unpleasant,” says Mehmet Oz, MD, Director of the Cardiovascular Institute at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, in O Magazine.

Realize you aren’t perfect, you aren’t a machine. Humans are incapable of perfection so stop beating yourself. Free yourself to ignore some of the social pressures that have been holding you back from your hopes and dreams. Your ambitious nature may get you to the top, but you might just be waving down at everyone you let fade out of your life. You’ll have no one to share your successes with. Remember that friends and loved ones suffer those weekends and late nights you are home answering e-mail or constantly checking your office voicemail.

Don’t turn your focus away from what is truly important. Instead, learn to measure your success by the balance and happiness you achieve in your life on a whole. I wish you luck in achieving that life that you want and need!

Own Your Power!


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