This post is dedicated to a friend, who has followed her spouse, moved from her homeland, Malaysia, to stay and work in Singapore a year odd ago.
Dear friends, in your course of career, have you ever felt that 24 hours a day is not enough? Have you ever have a time your in-tray/in-box is filled with so much things to do and you are tearing your hair out trying clear them? Have you ever work till you felt that there’s nothing call “weekend”?
I did. There were even times I was so swarmed with work, my brain started on work stuff the moment I woke up, and I had to force myself to blank out when it’s time to sleep. I even dreamt about working at nights! And when I was younger, I was so committed to work, I spent my weekends for company activities, on top of keeping my schedule packed with Japanese and music classes. Meeting with Andrew often ended up to be a quick dinner, dragging him along to company activities or napping in his house.
I was one person who couldn’t sit still then, and although stressful, I had enjoyed the fast-pace, packed lifestyle I built for myself. (Of course, Andrew wasn’t really happy about that) But there came a time I got tired and frustrated of unable to accomplish my work. Worse when they seemed never ending. That’s when I decided not to get bullied by work anymore.
Work is work, it will never end completely.
Nowadays I am very much a “my-pace” person. I would have my own set of prioritse over work and would work them at my own pace according to the urgency. One important thing I did was to set limitations regarding work for myself, which in turn would be reflected to people working with me. And I would expect them and myself to respect these limitations (exceptions only during dire times, or major projects):
1. Do not bring work home, dedicate over-time hours if need to clear the work
2. Do no entertain work calls/emails when I’m off-work, on-leave, on MC (I practically don’t care, especially when I’m on MC).
3. Do no entertain work during weekends, unless it’s pre-planned stuff.
4. Lunch hour is personal time, whether or not do I eat, I’ll step out/take break etc.
I expect myself to switch off on work and concentrate on my personal life and my loved ones when I’m officially “out of office”, whether or not is there work waiting to be done in my in-tray. Work stress stays in office.
Maybe you wouldn’t agree, maybe my attitude to many would be that that would cost you your career, but to me now, there’s a lot more in life than trying to clear my in-tray and piled up projects. And I do hope my friends who are stressed about life, could take a step back and reflect if they have been trying too hard with clearing their work.
I’ll leave you an excerp from Richard Carlson’s Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff:
“Regardless who you are or what you do, however, remember that nothing is more important than your own sense of happiness and inner peace and that of our loved ones. If you’re obsessed with getting everything done, you’ll never have a sense of well-being! In reality, almost everything can wait. Very little in our work lives truly falls into the “emergency” category. If you stay focused on your work, it will all get done in due time.”
Lots of Love,