How not to miss your goldfish (even if you don’t have one!)

business career Jan 27, 2020

Intrigued? I hope so!

But what if you were that person with the goldfish which you loved and nurtured and fed? And what if you worked such long hours that you hardly ever got to see it? And when you did you were tired and grouchy. You’d probably feel like you were missing out on this relationship. I guess it’s probably neither here nor there to the goldfish because allegedly they only remember things for a few seconds. But what if it wasn’t a goldfish. 

What if it was your friends, your husband or wife … OR YOUR KIDS?

This is a serious problem for many people when I start to work with them. They are in jobs that mean they miss out on hobbies or pastimes, on seeing their friends or, even worse, on seeing their kids grow up. They are out of the house before the kids are up and back after they’re in bed. So they are effectively just a weekend parent to their kids. Alternatively, they might be trying to juggle work around the school drop off and pick-ups, with an unsympathetic boss or organisation. Not a recipe for a stress-free life.

Quite frankly, it’s got to stop! But what can you do if you are in that situation? It’s very easy to say that you can’t change anything because it’s just the demands of the job, just the way things are or the company culture. But when you’re sitting on the veranda in your rocking chair when you’re 87 years old, you won’t look back and regret trying to change things. You will regret having missed your children growing up, or not spending time with friends or on the hobbies you love. Pause and think about that for a moment!

So, what could you do about it?

Firstly, take a look at your situation: what are the specifics of it? Are you working too late doing other people’s work (you might also like this blog if you are: I Never Get Time For Me); is the culture one where you feel obliged to stay later and work longer hours than you are contracted for; do you struggle to get time off for the things that are important to you outside of work, whether that’s the school play, to take an evening class, go to the gym, or something else?

Now think about what your ideal working life would be. What time would you be leaving work, what would you be doing at the weekends or in the evenings? You might even think about what it is that you’re actually doing at work and whether it’s what you want to spend your time doing. It’s about working out what you’d like compared with the current reality of your working life. 

Now you know the gap, take action.

Here are some things you could try:

  • Decide what time you want to leave each day and actually do it.
  • Talk to your boss about your work load, work pattern, and what your suggestions are to change things (and see if your boss thinks of anything you haven’t)
  • Start small by leaving at a reasonable time one night a week
  • Book activities after work so that you have to leave on time
  • Explore the options for more flexible working
  • And if you’re self employed you have even more options – after all, you’re the boss. But are you a good boss to yourself?

Whatever it is that you decide to do, make sure that you take some actions; after all, if you carry on doing what you’ve always done, you’ll find that the same situations occur again and again.

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