Personal Productivity is Ultimately About Getting a Life

Are you working your life away? Yes, you, the one working six days a week, 12 hours a day. Oh, so you “rest” on the seventh day? Hey, even God rested on the seventh day. You, however, put in a few more hours. When did you confuse your job with your life? Leisure, wellness, fun, and stress reduction are all an essential part of any productive routine.  If you have a hard time kicking back, here are a few suggestions you should try.

1. Close the mental office “door” and turn off work each day. It’s okay to love what you do; it’s okay to have passion for your work. But you’re not defined by what you do professionally. Stop being a workaholic, and learn to slow down.

2. Leave work on time, so you can get home and enjoy your personal life. Your personal life is at least as important as your work life. Facing this reality and learning to work with it will make you feel more successful and less stressed.

3. Keep your stress levels low. Lighten up and laugh at life’s absurdities. Remember, the lower your stress level, the higher your appreciation of life and your ability to care for others.

4. Rest, relax, and play daily. Some 40 percent of people surveyed say they don’t spend enough time enjoying leisure activities. The biggest obstacle to play? Ourselves. Give yourself permission to have fun.

5. Go on a long vacation each year. Everyone needs a change of pace and scenery and fun on a regular basis. Vacations offer the restorative power many people desperately need. Without the ability to recharge your batteries for a long period of time, you’re on a slippery slope to burnout.

6. Create fond memories with the people you love. Don’t ignore your family in favor of earning a living. Create positive experiences that stir their emotions and will therefore impact them, so they’ll remember the good times.

7. Have a regular “family time” with loved ones. The traditions you share with your family are important ways to nurture and express your love for the important people in your life, and to create those fond memories that make you a family.

8. Make time for a favorite hobby. Having a hobby is a great way to re-energize. Whether you like to knit, create scrapbooks, or design clothes, do something regularly. Make time for it. Hobbies are a wonderful outlet for the creative expression missing in many people’s lives.

9. Force yourself to slow down and stop rushing around. Time management doesn’t mean packing your day like a moving van, ensuring every single minute is full. What’s really at issue is not the quantity of time, but its texture.

10. Take care of yourself on a regular basis. This doesn’t just mean going to the doctor and dentist regularly. Reconnect with your childhood, keep up an active social life, pamper yourself occasionally, and don’t feel guilty about downtime. 

Some people may perceive playing to be frivolous, but they’re missing the point. You need occasional periods of recreation in order to avoid burn-out and to keep caring about what you’re doing with your life. Slow down and smell the flowers occasionally! Play is more than something “extra” — it’s the ultimate pillar on which your life rests.

© 2008 Laura Stack.  Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, professional speaker, and author who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time™. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training company in Denver, Colorado, that caters to high-stress industries. Laura’s newest productivity book, The Exhaustion Cure (Broadway Books), hits bookstores in May 2008.  Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and MolsonCoors.  Contact her at www.TheProductivityPro.com

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