Leaving work at work and putting life first

For June, my challenge has been to focus on non-work related activities- hobbies, passions, trips, fun, and relaxation as well as spending time with my partner, family, and friends.

My goal is not simply make time for these things, but to truly put them first. To prioritize them, not just squeeze them in at the end of a long day when I have no energy left. I want to really put work out of my mind when I am focusing on a project or hanging out with friends and family, which I will be doing for the first time since COVID next week!

A short rant about work-life balance

Personally, I don’t want “work-life” balance. For this month, and ideally all the time, I want life to come before work. It should be way more important, not equally balanced with work. It is LIFE after all!

Why do we put the word “work” before “life” anyways? Why not life-work balance? Okay rant over…

Strategies

Here are some strategies that I have found online and am working on putting into place this month:

  1. Keep early mornings to yourself: I really like this one and have already started doing it in my new job. In fact, I am writing this post before work! I used to start work at 6:30am because that is when I am up and most productive…but why should I give my best hours to work? I plan to explore different ways to spend my mornings this month and see what works for me.
  2. Create a long commute: Having a transition time after work can help to mentally transition away from it. Since I am working from home, I don’t have a commute. But I can create one by going for a long walk after work or sticking to some type of transition routine.
  3. Mindfulness: When talking about living in the moment and not thinking about work, how can I leave out mindfulness? This may need a whole month of it’s own, but I definitely will work to incorporate it throughout the month. I am working through a series on Insight Timer called “Mindfulness Daily At Work.” It helps me decompress in the middle of the day and manage my anxiety. I also want to pick up a habit of meditating at the end of the day to transition away from work.

Hobbies and personal finance

Since I’ll be spending this month focusing on my hobbies and time spent outside of work, I want to address some financial considerations that come along with this. Often when talking about hobbies, I think there tends to be an assumption that you need to spend money on them.

I had that inclination as well. I thought about getting back into an expensive sport I used to do in high school. I also thought it would be fun to try dance lessons. But it’s really not about just finding these exotic, expensive hobbies. There is so much that can be done for free (or very frugally)!

Once I started thinking about the things I am already doing, I realized that was more than enough to fill my time. I have been diving into these things.

It’s not about seeking out fancy new things to try but more about the mindset around how I spend and prioritize my time, putting activities and time spent with loved ones ahead of work.

What kind of hobbies do you have and how do you make time for them? I would love to hear any tips for leaving work at work and enjoying time off!

-M

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