Don’t Take Your Work Home

Regret – Feeling that you missed out on what you really wanted because you were busy doing what you thought you had to do in order to survive. That’s a definition I once read by author Dr. J. Michael Godfrey

The other day, I was reading a post from a gentleman who managed a car dealership.  In his post, he said, “Working Sundays.  No days off in the car business.”

Reading the post made me stop for a second and ponder my own past.  You see, I used to be wired exactly like this guy.  Work was #1 in my life.  I worked crazy long hours and took very few days off.  Oh, and if you were my coworker and you were not killing yourself at work just like me, well, I probably resented you and thought you were weak.

Looking back now, and being 52 years of age, I was wrong.    

On January 10th, I got a membership at a new business in Waco called CycleBar.  CycleBar does group spinning classes in a dim-lit room with thumpin’ music.  It is a hell of a workout.  At the end of my 2nd class the instructor reminded everyone of the January challenge; ride 19 classes get $19 off your membership.  Now, I am thrifty at times, but if you know me then you know I love a good challenge.  Because I joined on the 10th, getting in 19 rides in the month meant I had to ride every day, but two.  To complicate things, I had planned a trip that killed three days.  This meant that I would have to ride every day, and one day I would need to ride twice.  To bring this part of the story to a conclusion, I not only met the goal, I exceeded it and completed 20 rides. But that is not what I am here to tell you.  What I am here to tell you is that in CycleBar they track your stats and they also track where you finish each class compared to your peers.  For the first 3 or 4 classes, I was either number 1 or number 2 in my class.  My stats were kickass.  But around class 6 or so they began to diminish rapidly.  I was trying hard.  I really was.  By class 15 I was ranking in the bottom 25% of my class on each ride.  This week, my job is wearing me slick.  I did not have it in me to CycleBar yesterday.  I took the day off.  I even drank some whiskey last night.  What do you know?!?!  I went to class today and it was the first ride in about two weeks where I really felt strong.  As far as my stats go, I was #1 in my class.

I said all of that to say this, folks we all need a break.  If you never take a break, I promise your overall performance is suffering.  I think a lot of the “work” that takes place nowadays is really not “work” at all.  It’s keeping busy.  Yesterday I was having a discussion with a new coworker.  I told him that I expect him to work hard, but not to the point of inefficiency.  I also told him that I am not a fan of people who take their work home and here is why.  Let’s say you are all kinds of backed up with stuff you don’t really want to do.  You put off doing it at work because you say, “I will just take this home and do it on my comfortable couch.”  So you load up an armful of crap and you take it home.  You walk in and set it on your dinner table, and then the same cycle of procrastination that began at work is continued at home; I will start on it after dinner, I will hit it hard in the morning over coffee, tomorrow afternoon I am for sure doing this, blah blah blah.  What ends up happening is Monday morning comes around, you didn’t get shit done, you’ve got to carry all of that crap back to the office, and your weekend was ruined because every time you walked past that stack of office stuff and it caught your eye you had feelings of guilt.

Life is hard.  Don’t make it harder by never taking a break.  Unless you are powered on nuclear energy, you’ve got batteries and those batteries must be recharged.  Don’t be the idiot I was.  If you’ve got a family then you have another reason for downtime.

To bring this back full circle to where I started; Regret.  Do I have regret?  You damn right I do.  I used to push people too hard and expect too much.  More importantly, I regret being an absentee father and husband.  One goal in life is to learn from mistakes.  Perhaps today you will learn something from mine.

Life was meant to be enjoyed.  It’s a gift.  Sure there will be times where you have to dig deep and put in the hours.  That’s cool, as long ass it’s the exception and not the rule.

As always, I hope you Find Your Adventure and Live Your Life.

PS – I will be writing about the statement I made earlier; Life is hard.  I think it will be a good read.