Don't Let Work Be An ExcuseIt’s a topic that we touch on fairly often at A Day On; how to get back on track and start living the life that we envision, that we yearn for, that is our true destiny. And ironically enough one of the main competitors for our time is often the last place on our schedule that we really “want” to be: our jobs.

In an article posted last summer, The Curse Of Workplace Success, I examined how when things are sailing along smoothly at work and we seem to have found that sweet-spot it is often tempting to lighten up on the reins of our personal projects. When the job is providing the money and the endorphins it’s difficult to argue with success.  But, the underlying (and in these times, muted) question while we are chugging smoothly down these work rails, if we are in fact producing something that is in line with our internal goals and dreams. If we are not, chances are we may “wake up” a month or a year or a lifetime down the track and wonder where all the time went.

I would venture that if you are the kind of person who is reading A Day On you might be a person who tends to employ avoidance techniques. After all, what causes us to steer the other way than where we should be heading except fear of the unknown. Maybe you’re enjoyment of work is brought on as pressure release in response to taking A Day On. After all, taking A Day On and then another and another is itself work. The flip side of exhilaration can be fatigue, and it might be that your job is providing a respite from constant conscious living.

Work as Avoidance Tactic
The workaholic is not sick because she works a lot. She is sick because she works primarily to avoid. She has found work to be her refuge from other demands such as family, friends, house and car maintenance etc.  Thus she finds herself doing her job when she should be doing her work. Like alcoholism or drug addiction she gravitates to something that has become unhealthy in order to passively avoid what is life-giving.

We at A Day On are familiar with the claim that “I will get to my bliss just as soon as things slow down.” How convenient to have a boss who lets you off the hook so easy. Would this excuse pass muster at our job? Can you imagine telling The Man, “I will do what you need me to do as soon as everything else in my life allows it.”

Then, when you finally do get a moment, the inspiration just isn’t there and you are too tired from all the work you’ve been doing at your job. You might even thing to yourself that recurring impulse that brought you to this site: I’ve got to find a way to get off this merry-go-round.

Here are 7 Tips For Taking A Day On In Spite Of Your Job
Send yourself emails that you must follow up on.  While you’re answering everyone else’s emails and you get a moment’s inspiration take a short break and send yourself an email to your personal account. In it might be a thought that you would like to follow up on, a goal that you want to complete when you get home, a link to a website. You can even attach a picture or other file.

Mark it “Urgent” just like everyone else who makes demands of your time does. Then, when you get home, don’t avoid it. Read it and act upon it. How about sending one A Day! I send emails from my personal account to my personal account and then i just reply with updates and further instructions. But, don’t abuse it. No one likes spam!

Make notes. Get yourself a pocket notebook and keep notes when you get inspired. They’re great for in the car, at the desk, during meetings, etc. The plus is that little notebooks are ultra-portable and require no batteries.

Schedule Time. Make yourself an appointment entry on your calendar. Block out the time so that there will be sure to be no last-minute appointments or distractions. Don’t feel guilty. If you’re not taking a bunch of other opportunities to be unproductive at work a half-hour “meeting” will actually recharge your for the duties of your job.

Take A Lunch Hour On.  By eliminating going out to lunch your avoid a whole series of consequences from eating unhealthy, weight gain, one more decision to make, feeling tired and bloated when you return, excessive spending, driving, parking and so on. Find yourself a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts for an hour. I like to sit on a park bench behind a cafe that has a strong wi-fi signal. I get my work on the site done, get fresh air, and avoid all the negatives of constantly eating out like it.

Engage in Research. Maybe you aren’t able to bring your pottery wheel to the office, but you can always bring a book or search sites for new techniques and inspiration. Why not look at it as taking a class. Create a syllabus with a timeframe in which you will meet certain learning goals.  Chart your progress.

Pay Yourself First. Mom always said that you should take a portion of your paycheck and immediately bank it before you pay a single other bill. This principle should also be applied to your other resources especially time.  “First thing,” is often the only motivator you need. We find that it isn’t as hard to get up to follow your bliss for an hour as it is to get up and get ready to go fight traffic on your way to your job. In fact, I’ve found that an hour invested in myself in the morning actually makes it easier for a working dad to get all of us up and motivated to start our day. Why? Because it’s easier to wake three people up when you’re already wide awake than it is when you yourself are still wanting to be in bed.

More about morning wake up techniques here.