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I wanted to take a minute to talk about balance. After reading the Huffington Post article about how most women are sleep deprived, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one working myself to the bone. Most women, especially if they have kids, are trying to “do it all”—be great wives, mothers, daughters, colleagues or bosses and on and on. And men, too. We’re all working really damn hard. And when I read books like Gary Vaynerchuck’s Crush It or blogs like Chris Brogan’s, I hear a lot about how they didn’t get where they are by watching TV. They worked their asses off, and still do. And they sacrifice a lot. Vaynerchuck talks about how he would be on the Internet until 3 a.m. each night after taping Wine Library TV reading and commenting on people’s blogs in order to make connections. Chris Brogan pans to the swimming pool in his five-star hotel and then explains that that isn’t where he’s spending his time. It’s in his room, at his laptop, “bleeding from the eyeballs” as Vaynerchuck puts it.

I read these chapters and posts, and I get super motivated to stay up late and work, work, work. And I often do. And I enjoy it. But I also fantasize nearly every day about going to Hawaii and lying on a beach for two weeks and doing nothing but eating and reading and playing in the ocean.

At this time fifteen years ago, I was lying on a beach doing just that—in India. I went there to travel and stayed to do a yoga teacher’s training class. I spent my last two months doing little more than what I dream of today—eating, reading and swimming (and a whole lot of yoga). And while there, I met people of all ages from all over Europe (and a few from the US), who felt relaxed for the first time in years (It takes more than two weeks to beat the grind out of you. You need at least a month to really wind down.) These were television producers and artists and engineers, and they were saying, “I don’t want to leave. ‘m going to go home and quit my job and move back here.” And some did. Of course, India is a magical place, at least it was back then, and none of us wanted to leave, but my point is that these people were having reckonings—realizing that they’d been working their asses off their whole lives and now they were 30 or 40 years old and were enjoying life for the first time.

And this brings me to balance. We can’t all quit our jobs and run off to India, but we CAN take vacations, and we CAN take days off, and we CAN take hours to play with our kids, go on a hike and GET SOME SLEEP. I played air hockey with my toddler tonight, and it was fun. I may not have gotten as much work done as I would have liked, but when I’m old and gray, how much money I have in the bank, or how many copies of my books I sold, won’t matter to me as much as whether I enjoyed my life. I’m not saying don’t work hard. I’m saying work better. Work more efficient. Get your work done, and then take a break. Have some fun. And get some sleep!

5 comments to Balance

  • I agree! I read stuff about how hard people work, how hard they push themselves, and I feel like I'm being "bad" by not doing that. That I'm not trying hard enough. So I stay up till 1 am working on a story. Then the next morning when my alarm goes off, I kind of want to die.

    So there has to be some sort of balance. I definitely waste a lot of time (with the internet though, not TV) and I recognize some changes I need to make. For me, it's a matter of exercising more self-discipline AND pushing myself a little harder. But without sacrificing the things my body and mind need, like sleep (and chocolate, hehe). It's a balance between going full-steam ahead for my dreams, and taking care of myself. I haven't found it quite yet, but I'm working my way there… 😉

  • I don't function well on little sleep at all. Last night I stayed up late, then today (a work from home day), I took a LONG nap. Won't get much done today, but I feel a lot better!

  • Such a good point, and a good, timely reminder. Thanks Meghan!

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