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Tuesday, 4 June 2013

But I enjoy my work so it doesn't feel like work

The sun today managed to coax me out to top up my vitamin D for lunch on the beach and take time for a healthy lunch. Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins it's hard to get from food and therefore, unless you're taking a supplement, can have an impact very quickly on our mental well being. Something I find easy to understand the knock on effects and wider repercussions of - whilst not so in others areas of my life as you will discover.
Photo: To good an opportunity to work thru lunch today no eating at the PC but eating on the beach :-)
"How's your life balance" my coach asked last week. To which I replied "oh I'm really enjoying it so it doesn't feel like work". Which wasn't quite what she meant. Today I tweeted pictures from my lunch on the beach and somehow felt I should be doing something more 'worthy'.

If we forget about the apparently worthy doing which meant I didn't turn my PC off till 2330 last night, then there's some basics that I'm forgetting that I've blogged about in the past, and repeatedly use in coaching sessions with others. We cannot possibly get everything we need from one area of our life - whether we enjoy it or not. Fact. Which means sooner or later lack in the other areas eventually catches up with us. Whether through ill health, deteriorating performance, diminishing joie de vivre, lack of friends, creative block, and so on.

Author Susan Jeffers, who sadly died last year, used the following model to help explain this more.

Pinned Image

What the words are isn't important, and whether there are 7, 8 or 9 areas doesn't either. What is important is an understanding that we get different needs or values met from different areas of our life. No one area can give us everything. Work can't give us love or health, in the same way a relationship can't give us meaning. So if one area takes up 100% of our time we don't get the essentials we need that the other areas provide. 

Short term blitzing on an area is inevitable but long term it's not helpful. Not least that our continued wellbeing comes from having all our needs met. So working to the exclusion of our health, relationships or friendships will only be effective for so long.

As I wrote about yesterday the work I'm doing is very mentally intensive at the moment. Breaks have, until today, generally been to swap one work activity for another. Baths, whilst long, have included engaging with social media, books read are all work based, and people I'm speaking to all colleagues and clients. And meals - well let's not talk about the working till too late and then eating cereal for tea! I know that's not helpful - I can feel my mind, body, and soul too, reacting to the lack of variety and attention. Enthusiasm for life and work and all the other areas listed can only be sustained long term if I pay attention to my needs in all areas. 

Which means the beach for lunch might not have met my work needs directly, but it helped give my brain a rest, gave my body time to digest the healthy food properly, allowed me to top up with mood enhancing vitamin D which will in turn all positively impact the work I do this afternoon, and the rest of the week. So more worthy I think than yet another hour sat at the PC!

What do you need to do more of to bring your mind, body and soul back into balance so that all your needs are being met and long term sustainability is a real possibility?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring change inside and out

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