“Work hard, play hard,” is a mantra I live by. And to be honest, it’s a lesson I was taught at a very young age. My mom was a single mom, raising me alone on a school teacher’s salary. However, that never stopped her from having a multitude of hobbies nor did it stop us from traveling often. My mom made several sacrifices so that she could enjoy other parts of her life. For example, we always had season passes to the local ski resort, a cleaning service, and a health membership at the local gym. But my mom often worked 2-3 jobs (tutoring in the evenings, teaching ski lessons on the weekend) to pay for these “extras”. The best part is that I never saw her stressed out or “miserable at work” because she always invested her time in doing things that she truly enjoyed. She worked those extra jobs so that we could have money for the fun things in life.
There was a point in my career where I thought you had to be the first one in the office and the last one to leave to be successful. You had to always be busy, jumping from meeting to meeting to meeting. But throughout my career, I have seen a lot of examples where working harder does not equate to working smarter. Now don’t get me wrong: work ethic is an invaluable trait, and there is a lot to benefit from being the first one in the office and putting your all into each day. There are a lot of late nights where I’m on my phone or catching up on emails to ensure everything has been taken care of. But I am a believer that the people who work themselves to exhaustion will eventually burn out, and until they find a balance that works for them, they are not living their fullest and healthiest life.
A wise mentor once told me that one of the best ways to prioritize all aspects of your life is by listing out the different roles you hold. Are you a manager? Mother? Daughter? Wife? Mentor? Friend? Coach? Teammate? Every morning before you start your day, look at your list and prioritize what actions NEED to happen that day for you to fulfill each aspect of your life. Is it your father’s birthday? That needs to be a priority. Big project due at work? Priority. An employee’s quarterly review? Priority. Each day you will have a list of your top priorities, and you should not end the day without fulfilling them. And don’t forget to prioritize your personal health and wellness! Don’t reschedule that doctor’s appointment for the 7th time and don’t skip that workout; you will thank yourself.
A study published in The Open Psychology Journal tested the hypothesis on Work Hard, Play Hard and found that there is a link between the desire to succeed in work and the desire to succeed in play. In other words, people that are driven are often driven in all aspects of life.
Personally, I know that I am a better employee at work when I have outlets in my personal life. I often have a very full schedule outside of work – shuttling the kids to different activities throughout the week, and then weekends full of travelling to see family, friends, or doing several fun activities around town. My mom made some tough sacrifices in her life but was able to demonstrate the value of hard work and how to incorporate a balance between her career and her hobbies. I want my kids to see that life does not have to be fully run by your job and that it is possible to be successful at work while also fully enjoying your life.