Leap Year Lesson #18: Pace Yourself

Posted: January 18, 2012 in Work-Life Balance

I started a new role at work in mid-December. It is a thrill and a joy to do what I do and I could gladly do it every waking hour of the day. I am fortunate to be in this situation.

When starting new things, it is easy and (for a while) possible to give it tons of time and energy, even if you know that level of activity is not sustainable. So I gladly gave it 60+ hours per week this past month even though I did not have to. I wanted to hit the ground running and get a good grasp of what is needed, diving in with my best shot. All along the while I knew that I would not be able to sustain that level of energy indefinitely.

In several jobs in the past I have absorbed permanently the work of others who left my department, sometimes the work of multiple others. I’ve had managers who would give me assignments and eventually wonder if I had too much on my plate. My word to them has been “Keep it coming. If it gets to be too much, I’ll squeal.”

The squeal you now hear is me saying I’ve reached that point and it’s time to better pace myself. That’s OK. I expected it. It had to come and a month of crazy hours isn’t bad for this ol’ guy. It will help that others are soon about to join my team to share the load.

So the lesson for today is in recognizing when you reach that point, being willing to admit it and to share that fact with others to help manage their expectations. It’s actually a good place to be because now I can settle in to a more sustainable routine with reasonable expectations and better work-life balance.

We can all give extra effort for a season, but we don’t want to burn out from trying too much indefinitely. We’ll accomplish more in the long run by staying healthy – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – and by learning and living leap year lesson #18 – Pace yourself.

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