May 2009
"If I Get My Work Done, Then I Can Relax"

What thoughts are driving your work habits?

Do you ever think this? Thoughts like this are beneath the awareness of many professionals who are trying to keep up with an increasing workload using fewer resources. It can be hard to walk away for the day knowing there will be a pile of work waiting the next day. Wouldn't it be satisfying to catch up for once, so you could relax and have some down time at least for a day or two?
What's Going On?
When you were a kid, were you ever told, "Do your chores, and then we'll go swimming (or whatever)." Many of us were taught to do our work first, and then we can play. It's a good strategy for parents to motivate and teach kids. But, parents are usually pretty good about balancing chores and play time for kids, and kids are pretty good about letting their parents know when there hasn't been enough play time.

Our education system also reinforces this approach. Students finish up a school year, turn in all their books and homework and take a break before going to the next level.

However, once you grow up and are working full-time, the pattern is different. You probably don't have a boss who says, "Ok, get that report done, and then we'll go get some ice cream." (Although if you do have a boss that does this, I'd love to hear about it.)

As my friend Barbara said, it's more like, "Ok, get that project done, and then I'll give you three more." What?! There's always more to do than time to do it in, so you end up working longer and harder to keep up, and the play time and other personal rewards get put off into the future. Without a person or system incorporating down time into your routine, you may find yourself working for the reward of the paycheck and bonuses at the expense of your health and well-being.

Then, by the time vacation time rolls around, it takes three days just to slow down and forget your to do list. By the time you're feeling more rested, it's time to get back to work and the hectic pace.

This way of working isn't working for a lot of people. They're stressed, sick, disgruntled, depressed, less productive, and/or burned out. Changing jobs or careers becomes the focus because it's the one time they stop taking on new projects and hand off the rest of their responsibilities and finally catch up, which means they can relax--- until they start the new job.
What Can You Do?
If you just try to change your behavior without understanding what's really going on, you're likely to slip back into old patterns or create other problems. So, the most important and often trickiest step is to become aware of the unexamined thoughts and beliefs that are driving your behavior. Once you identify them, you can determine if they are serving you well.
Silent balloon
1. What are the underlying thoughts and assumptions driving you to work the way you do? See if any of these fit:
  • "If I don't catch up, it means I'm incompetent, a failure, lazy, etc."
  • "If I don't keep up, I'll get fired."
  • "If I get my work done, then I'll get promoted (make more money), and then I can do more of what I want."
Write them down so you can look at them in light of day instead of letting them run you.

Then, as author and speaker Byron Katie says, ask yourself, "Can you absolutely (100%) know for sure that these thoughts are true?" No, not absolutely.

2. Clarify what you do want and ask it as a question, such as, "How can I accomplish what's really important and feel more relaxed (have more fun) in the process?" Hmmm. This gives your mind a positive goal to focus on instead.

3. Write down at least 5-6 small steps you could take today that could move you closer to that goal. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
  • Play music while I'm working.
  • Mark times on my calendar to take breaks-- and then take them!
  • At the end of the day, acknowledge myself for 2-3 things I accomplished. (Give myself a gold star for each one!)
  • Instead of doing my work first all the time, do something fun first thing in the morning so I'm in a good mood the rest of the day. (Crazy!!)
What would delight the kid in you? There's no one right answer. You have to take on the role of taking care of yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. It's not always easy, or you'd already be doing it. But, try taking a small step every day and notice the changes in your attitude, energy level, and performance.

When you find ways to balance work and play time and even incorporate more fun during the day, you're actually more productive in the long run. Then, you'll discover the opposite could also be true. "If I can relax, then I can get my work done!"
Live well,
MBA, Doctor of Naturopathy

(c) 2009 cg .consulting
Find Work You Love
While Enjoying the Process of Looking
Wednesdays- May 13, June 3, & June 17
5:30 - 7:00 pm
Superior, CO

Know anyone who is:
  • Looking for work and feeling stressed by the process?
  • Worried about losing their job? or
  • Feeling trapped in an unfulfilling job, wishing they could be doing something else?
I'd love to work with them!

Whether you are feeling stuck in an unfulfilling job or are between gigs, my goal is to support you in finding work that inspires you while you enjoy the process of looking. The obstacles, excuses, doubts, and stressful thoughts you have about job hunting, career changes, and work aren't the problem-- they are important clues you can use to free up energy and regain your personal power so you can focus on what you really want and how to get there. Now is the time you are being called to stop working just for a paycheck and to use your gifts and talents to make a difference in the world.

Working in a group setting, we'll address the topics below:

May 13th- "I'm stuck, frustrated, depressed, and/or afraid because . . . "
Recognizing obstacles, concerns, and fears as important clues and using them to address the underlying issues so you can clear the path to create what you want.

June 3rd- "If I could use my gifts and talents to make a difference in the world in ways that I enjoyed, I would . . . "
The importance of getting clear on what you are inspired to do-- even if it seems unrealistic or impossible.

June 17th- "What drags me down about job hunting is . . .  searching for openings, sending out resumes, waiting to hear back from managers, not knowing, negotiating offers, etc. . . ."
Finding easier, effective ways to attract opportunities, connect with potential employers, and interview to bring out the best in you so you can shine.

By the end of each session, you'll have practical steps you can take to move towards what you want. You'll develop the clarity, skills, energy, and confidence to see new possibilities, act creatively and successfully work, even in this economic climate. Wouldn't it be great if you were happily singing,"Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work I go!"?

Dates: 3 Wednesdays- May 13, June 3 & June 17
Time:  5:30 - 7:00 pm. Plan to arrive a few minutes early so we can get started on time. Bring something to drink (and a snack if you're hungry).
Location: Saddle Brooke Condominium Clubhouse; 1880 Enterprise Street, Superior CO (near Rock Creek Parkway & 88th Street)
Registration Information: $30 per session payable by cash or check. Please email or call (303) 444-4839 to register or for more information.
Complimentary Consultation
I guide professionals in developing the clarity, skills, energy, and courage to make empowering choices aligned with their deepest purpose. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation, please email me or call (303) 444-4839.