02-07-2014 Journal Entry – Workaholics!   Leave a comment

On any given day I enjoy relaxing.  It’s taken me a lot of years to learn how to relax after spending my working life as a six day a week workaholic. Even as a high stress workaholic I was able to relax but it was just as hard to make time for that as the job itself.  I knew when the job and my bosses needed to be ignored and occasionally paid a price for doing just that. I was also ridiculed at times by my workaholic co-workers but I knew where my limits were and tried never to exceed them.  Disconnecting from the everyday grind for me was the path to good mental health.  I’ve always used the light-switch analogy and have advised more people than I can remember to go home at the end of the day, turn off the work light-switch and  just relax.

I watched for years as retail management pushed associates into completing long lists of tasks and if they weren’t accomplished correctly the associates were then criticized for their lack of customer service skills.  It was a vicious cycle that produced “task oriented” people in large numbers with a terrible customer service (people) attitude.  Associates became brainwashed and unable to feel good about themselves unless their long list of tasks had been completed at work and at home.

“Stop, smell the flowers, and relax.”

I’ve been personality tested by my employers on many occasions.  I’m was always considered an “A” type personality who was a great multitasker, knew how to accomplish the goals set by the corporation and to “get the job done”. Little did they know that doing their tasks was the easy part of my day but getting their tasks done quickly and making time for myself was even more difficult. It was a full time job trying to survive my full time job. I was always successful in the job but when I had down time I used it.  When I was relaxing I put tasking out of my mind completely and that skill helped maintain my somewhat healthy outlook on things.

I’m now retired but I live with someone who is totally task oriented.  She works a full time retail job and she has a difficult time relaxing when she gets home. She feels like her day is a total failure without a long and completed “To Do” list.  I’ve been trying desperately for years to get her to turn off that “light switch” when she gets home but have only been moderately successful.  I’m nothing if not persistent but she can be just as hard headed as I am.  It’s a battle I’ll keep fighting because it needs to be fought.

While personality tests and reading about personality types has been regarded by some as self-indulgent navel gazing, there is a real value that comes from identifying our natural tendencies. Every personality has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding what yours are allows you take advantage of those strengths to overcome the weaknesses.

I was surfing around the Net yesterday and discovered the following list of suggestions to assist those task oriented individuals in their attempts to relax.  Balance in life is more important than most people think but many people talk about reaching a balance but never actually try to accomplish it.

  1. Schedule time to focus on the people around you and commit to setting aside your To-Do list during that time.
  2. Consciously make eye contact when your husband, partner, or children speak to you so that they have your full attention.  Be attentive and focused.
  3. Go anywhere where you can just enjoy being with your family without the distraction of things that need to be done.
  4. Look for opportunities to get things done in smaller chunks rather than saving them all up to do at once.

I take and make time to do absolutely nothing.  Some people call it meditation and others (task oriented people) call it loafing.  Regardless of the name it’s total down time where the mind can rest as well as the body.  Just a few minutes a day seems to work for me.  I admit I have my work cut out for me with my better-half but I refuse to give up the fight.

RELAX DEAR!

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