I need it. That thing. That something to work toward. A challenge. An obstacle. A project.
Since as far back as I can remember, especially since I was old enough to have a job, I’ve been working toward something. Whether it was saving up enough allowance money to buy a toy, finding away to somehow pass a test in high-school, building a relationship with my (now) wife and getting married, or starting my own company. I’ve had a project in front of me.
We all do. We all have “life projects” – sometimes we avoid them, turn the other cheek, and say “maybe tomorrow” – for others, like me, it’s been about taking them on full speed ahead. Maybe because I don’t know any other way. Often trying to do too many things at once.
There’s a certain satisfaction in accomplishing a project you’ve been working on – be it big or small – being able to take that mental marker to draw a thick black line through an item on the to-do list is one of the best feelings ever.
I came. I saw. I conquered.
I’ve had many, many conversations with people, including my wife, who tell me to “slow down”, to relax, to take it easy and come up for air every once in a while.
This is probably the best advice anyone can give. For those who are constantly go, go, go (and this no doubt represents the majority of you reading this), I’ve got yet another project to add to your list:
We’re working with a client right now. As part of the introductory process we send a series of questions about “goals”. Typically we get responses that detail the amount of revenue the company wants to earn, the increase in web traffic they’re hoping for, etc.
But this was different. This wasn’t about dollars, it wasn’t about a bottom line, it wasn’t about the businesses’ results. Their document opened with one simple line, “I want to work less”.
I’ve seen work literally take over people’s lives. I see people on Twitter, Facebook, and in their blogs every day write about how burnt out they are at their jobs. Well, folks, life is far, far too short to be absolutely consumed with your work.
So that’s my project – and maybe after reading this, you’ll add it to your list. Take time to relax. Take time to enjoy time with your family and friends. Take a break in the day to read or listen to music. Allow yourself to mindlessly watch TV every once in a while. Leave the phone at home more often.
You define the work you do – don’t let work define you.
Work less. Live more. Starting now.
(Image c/o Rob Williams)