We all know the “Bring your child to work” day – or my personal favorite, “Bring your pet to work” – but do you ever want to bring yourself to work?
As a human and worker, you have three main parts of yourself: your physical presence, your emotional well-being, and your mental self. Much like a car, if one of these parts is just a little off, you won’t work as efficiently as you could.
“No,” you say, “that stuff doesn’t bother me.” You know – life. Either it’s a sick family member, or you’re remembering that your daughter left her homework by the toaster this morning, and gosh, you just can’t run to school because of that meeting that you have just 15 minutes to prep for… We all have those days where we think we’re Superman or Superwoman, and we can be multitasking like superstars. The day will end with a completely crossed off to-do list and us happily exhausted, saying to ourselves, “we pulled it off!”
But how often do those dreams of being able to accomplish everything without compromising anything really come to life? For most hardworking folks, perhaps maybe once in a blue moon. All three of those parts- the physical, mental, and emotional – are very important in our everyday routines, not to mention the workday. So what gives? There will always be those instances where our lives are so cluttered and busy that we have to constantly check to make sure our shoes match, not to mention prepare for the workday, our personal lives, and mental health.
From someone who has to look down to make sure that her shoes match at least three times a day, I’ve compiled a quick list modeled on how I stay organized, and make sure I bring myself to work 5 days a week. This is from personal experience of working a minimum of two jobs at a time for the past 6 years, having dual majors and multiple activities in college, and a fairly satisfactory social life post-graduation.
Get away from the glorification of "busy". Don’t just get away - sprint away from relishing the fact that you’re “busy”. If you aren’t busy improving your life in some way, then why are you doing so much? Make time for what matters: whether that’s friends, family, writing Yelp reviews, or whatever makes you truly happy. When something is fulfilling, it is no longer an obligation, and is now a hobby.
Talk it out. You know what’s really sad to witness? When someone has internalized so much anger, they lash out at people and/or objects. Don’t be “that person” hitting the door because it said "Pull" and you pushed. Instead, talk through your feelings. If you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, why? If you’re really excited about a work project, what about that project makes you feel that way? Self-discovery is a fluid act, and amazing things can happen when you get to know yourself- whether that's journaling, venting to a trusted friend, or discussing a topic
Make decisions once. I go grocery shopping once a week, and make almost all my meals in advance. It’s hard to cave and grab a pizza when you know you have crab-stuffed salmon at home that needs to be eaten before it goes bad. Healthy eating is so much easier when you take an hour a week and plan everything out – including snacks! Also, I pack my work or travel bag the night before, and have a series of post-its that remind me to grab my lunch on the way out the door. Plan your outfit the night before, and you’ll find fewer grumbles in the morning.
Check yourself. Moods tend to fluctuate during the day, going from exhilarated, to tired, to sluggish, to annoyed, to productive. I drink about 90 oz. of water per day, which means a lot of restroom trips. As strange as it sounds, I use that time away from my desk to “check-in” with myself – How is my mood? How is the day going, and are there any roadblocks from having a good day? How is my eating pattern – am I stress-eating, bored, or engaged? As corny as it sounds, I’ve seen a momentous increase in work engagement and mood – especially since I began using Pacifica, an app that tracks your mood, sleep, exercise patterns, water and caffeine intake, and so much more.
I’m excited to hear from you – what tips and tricks do you use to bring your whole self to work? What routines do you have that help benefit a robust and healthy life?