Why are you working? To survive? To get ahead? To compete with your neighbors? To have just enough to live a peaceful, fulfilling life?
I think the last one sounds really great. But most Americans seem to work to compete.
Many of us have traded quality of life for things. Parents work multiple jobs to afford houses, cars, and stuff so they can compete with other people. That’s when they are lucky enough not to be working multiple jobs just to survive, a more and more common trend.
Why do Americans do this? For a long time, I’ve blamed the advertising industry. They sell us a lifestyle through their commercials and print ads that convince us we won’t be happy until we own their newest, better, and more expensive products. They press our buttons with words like “deserve,” “earned,” and “reward.” But all we’re earning are high credit card bills and being rewarded with stress levels out the roof.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can stop working so hard and start slowing down when you’re at home. Let the stress melt away and start enjoying life.
Here are some ideas on reclaiming your time:
Quitting your job isn’t practical. But not taking your job home could be the answer. Can you turn off work email, texts, and phone calls when you are with your family? It will be hard at first, but should become easier and freeing with time. No one needs to be on call 24/7 for a nine to five job.
Climb off the technology roller coaster. Vow to have technology-free time. An entire day? Set hours each day? Whatever you decide. Studies have shown that you sleep better if you have some technology-free time before sleeping, so why not declare the hours before bedtime device-free? Studies also show people without electronic devices in the bedroom have better sex lives…just saying…
Stop over-scheduling everyone. “I’m so busy.” That’s the badge of honor these days. It’s exhausting talking to some people or trying to make plans…they are impossible to pin down because their schedule or their kids’ schedules are jam-packed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Kids don’t need to be in every extra-curricular activity offered. Honestly, the best thing for your child is to be given idle time so they can learn to entertain themselves. Trust me. Oh, and the same thing is good for you! Ask yourself why you need to be busy all the time. You might be sad by the answer, but you can fix things.
Learn to say NO! The world isn’t going to end when you do. In fact, the person asking for your time/money/opinion will just move on to the next person on the list. See, you’re not indispensable. I’m sorry, you knew that right? But that’s a good thing, because you can breathe a sigh of relief and take the time you need for a break. All you need to say is “no.” Other words aren’t necessary. Practice…NO!
Get a hobby. Take a class. Join a reading group. Form a club. Do something you’ve only been thinking about if you only had the time. Been dreaming of taking up oil painting? You’re not getting any younger, so you’d better sign up for that class right now! Dreaming of reading Tolstoy? Start with that group at the library. If you look around, there are all kinds of classes and groups in your community that you can join. Give something new a try. Be adventurous!
Play. Remember playing when you were a kid? You got up in the morning, had no plans, and went to bed that night. Somehow you filled the day with adventure. You were tired and happy in your bed, pleased with everything you did. Why not do that as an adult? Whether you do it alone or with others, have a day where you do whatever appeals to you. Don’t make plans, don’t make appointments. Go wherever the wind blows you. Whether you even leave your house or not is up for grabs. It’s your day.
What ideas do you have for not working so hard? Have you ever tried any of the suggestions above? Did they work? Why or why not?