Finding Balance
Feb 16, 2013

Learning how to create a healthier work/life ratio and still get things done

Running on empty. It sounds like a dramatic, descriptive phrase, but it's something that working professionals do on a far too regular basis. A vision of success coupled with a driving ambition turns into weeks, months and sometimes years of late nights at the office, assignments invading your sleep and, in the extreme, a dependence on substances or other bad habits to keep the pace going.

But this isn't a sustainable lifestyle. Eventually something happens to bring the entire system to a crashing halt. At its most innocent extreme, you'll spend an entire weekend in bed, catching up on those hours of lost sleep and rejuvenating your muscles and your brain as best you can. At its worst, there is illness. Your body stops processing the endless abuse and responds by shutting down the systems that have been operating inefficiently and to excess. The lesson is to learn how to get things back in order before your body does it for you. Voluntary rebalancing is far better than mandatory.

Being an admitted Type A personality, I can run harder and longer in the professional race than a lot of other people want or choose to. I thrive on challenges, new projects and progress, but I also know when it is time to unplug. Generally that means about a week in the Caribbean: swimming, dancing, and soaking up sunshine. I can't make those plans just yet, but I can consciously make more time to stop letting the world pass me by in the windows of my regional rail train or the recap emails in my inbox sent by friends who've taken some needed moments to enjoy themselves. All work and no play makes Stephanie a burnt-out mess.

So this blog is the sign of things to come. I'm making a recommitment to loving myself, in these days immediately following Valentine's Day. And I'm starting by saying No a little more often. Making a deeper commitment to managing my workflow so that concerts and nice dinners aren't such an impossibility. And a decent night's sleep is far from a luxury. Just a few adjustments will help tip the scales back toward center, toward sanity, and make the end truly justify the means.

Here is last week's playlist: