Okay, I admit it…I’m a workaholic. With high reaching goals, multiple clients and competing priorities, I pride myself in putting in the hours that it takes to be successful. And with social media and instant on-line demands, it’s difficult to say no or not be responsive. On any given day, I may be up in the wee hours sending emails and working on projects, catching a flight to present at a conference, participating in several conference calls along the way, and finishing the long day by working into the late hours of the evening on the next day’s deadlines. Do I sound proud? Yep, I am…of my work, the end products and the results that I bring for my clients. Having been taught at an early age that hard work can be one of the keys to success…I’m a strong believer in the hard work ethic.
However, I also get frustrated by my workaholic attitude. It is a daily struggle to create some sort of work-life balance strategy. While I do get out with friends or take long walks, it’s always squeezed in between all the work. Owning a winery and vineyard on my home property creates an additional challenge of never having any downtime at home. While sitting on the back porch, I can physically see all the things that need to be done…the grape vines need pruning, the irrigation requires repair, and the lawn must be mowed. A true workaholic cannot see all that work in front of them, and not feel compelled to jump up and start getting things taken care of.
So after months of struggling with trying to manage my never-ending workload with all the other segments of my life, I’ve developed a new plan – running away from home. I physically take myself away for 5-8 days, and go grid-less. That means no phone, no computer, and even limited television, if any. The only calls that I make or take are from my children or friends who are part of the getaway. During these getaways, I completely tune into myself. Taking a nap, going to a tourist spot, visiting a friend or place from my past, or just sitting. Yep, sitting with no phone, no connection other than just watching the people or nature around me. And at the end of my time away, I find that while I’m not a brand new person, it’s definitely been a good overhaul of my former workaholic self.
You might be thinking, “how does that help your business?” and that’s a good question. In taking the time away, I rest both my body and soul…sleeping and relaxing without distractions. Without computers, phones, or customer demands, I begin listening again to my inner voice and start remembering what brings me passion and joy. The down time starts me thinking more deeply about life, my purpose and life’s priorities. With such dedicated introspection, one can even start to be creative…thinking of innovative ideas, new goals, and different ways of handling situations. Upon returning to work, that new energy and novel thoughts can be directed in ways that may lead to greater success and achievement. And just as importantly, you may decide to stop doing things that were not bringing joy or success, or had become routine and less productive.
If the idea of running away home is intriguing to you, then here are 3 steps to make it successful:
1) Block out the dates. Nothing else gets scheduled during that timeframe. For instance, I will advise all my clients of the blocked out dates, and put auto replies on emails and voice mails that I am not available. No checking emails or phone messages…really, I’m not available.
2) Fight the urge! During one trip, I had the urge to pull out the computer and work on a particular writing assignment. While it would not have required me to connect to the Internet, it would have pulled my brain (and energy!) out of the getaway atmosphere and back into the work world that I was trying to escape.
3) You don’t have to do it alone. If getting away by yourself is not possible or attractive to you, then bring someone with you…your children, partner or a friend. However, you have to enlist their agreement to not pull you into the real world again by constantly checking their own emails or the world news…it needs to be a getaway for everyone.
As a self-proclaimed workaholic, running away from home is one of the hardest things that I’ve ever done…but it’s the best thing that I am doing for myself and my business. However, after practicing this for the past year, I can seriously attest that my mental health and bottom line is much better as a result.
About Your Columnist
Tammy Rimes is a featured columnist for Women Taking Charge, the official blog of Connected Women of Influence, where she covers how anyone can become spectacular at what they do. Tammy Rimes owns Hacienda de las Rosas Winery, featured on the front page of USA Today, and winner of the 2014 San Diego Reader’s Poll of Top 5 Wineries in San Diego County. Tammy is the author of “Drink Fine Wine…Ride Fine Horses – Leading the Life of Your Dreams,” a book that provides a fun and informative guideline on how anyone can begin their own dream life.