I awoke to the soft buzzing of my alarm, gradually bringing me out of the fog of a very deep sleep. I slowly opened one eye to see the green glow of the alarm clock. 5:54 AM! Darn! My daily fitness class began at 6:00 AM, no way I was going to make it. My alarm must have been going off for over 20 minutes, how could I not hear it? It’s really not surprising though. I stayed up working until 2:00 AM the evening before. On what? Who knows? Answering emails, working on proposals, catching up on (over) commitments that had been weighing heavy on my mind and draining my energy.
Oh well, I heard my mother’s voice in my head saying, “I guess your body needed it” so I laid back down and slept for another hour. That, however, is not the end of it. I didn’t simply get up later that morning after a little more sleep and proceed with a productive day. The remainder of the day I was still in that fog. Never really being able to focus and feeling like I was spinning my wheels. The thing is, my body probably did need the sleep but the feeling I had all day was an indicator that I was not honoring that ever-important task of self-care. If I’m being entirely honest with myself, this has been building for some time. For me, that time in the gym every morning and breaks throughout the day give me the rejuvenation I need to perform at my best. That morning my body had said enough is enough! According to BMJ Journals, working long hours can “adversely affect the health and wellbeing of workers.” Additionally, several Harvard studies concluded working fewer hours has proven to enhance employees’ work-focus, time management, and overall satisfaction, which leads to a fruitful and more profitable business.
When COVID initially forced our team to work from home, I was quite good about maintaining those boundaries between work and personal life. I read all the articles; maintain regular office hours, create a routine, set ground rules, schedule breaks, etc. Nevertheless, slowly those boundaries began to fade. I will just finish this one little thing, which, of course, turned into another and another, and before I knew it, the daylight was fading and I had missed another opportunity to enjoy an evening walk around the neighborhood or simply connect with my family. An added benefit is that most creative ideas come when I’m on a walk, taking a drive, or even in the shower. If my mind is not able to simply wander, neither is my creativity.
Since that “awakening” of sorts, I’ve become much more focused on how I use those 24 hours I have in the day. I am not talking about shirking my duties. Rather, I create a schedule, I delegate, I prioritize, and make a conscious decision to select what’s most important in my work and personal life, and ultimately I sometimes have to say no.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not! Case in point, I recently took a day off for some early season skiing with my husband and son. This was especially special because, as a 17-year-old ski-racer, my son’s days are busy with training so we have little time to enjoy as a family on the mountain. That morning as the three of us sat at breakfast I was working on my laptop between bites. My son asked what I was doing and I absentmindedly referred to some “important” work. I also shared with them both the fact that I needed to get my article on self-care completed. Well, the irony wasn’t lost on him and that was just the awareness I needed. I instantly closed my laptop and focused on what was important, my family.
How about you? Do you give yourself time to energize and feel more focused, and when you get off track, who keeps you accountable?
About the Guest Author: Sherry Weaver
Sherry grew up in Buffalo, NY and attended Genesee Community College pursuing a degree in Travel & Tourism. On a familiarization trip in December 1989 she discovered the beauty of Utah, moving to Park City the following April to work for a local travel agency.
In September of 1992 she began working for Worldspan/Travelport, a global travel distribution company, and had a wonderful 17 year career managing a portfolio consisting of Travel Management Companies. In December 2009 she found her true passion, selling the mountain experience. At that time, she started at Canyons Resort (now Park City Mountain) working with the leisure market.
In September 2011, she was offered and accepted an opportunity within that company to work in group sales. She assists groups planning a mountain meeting or conference with venues and views that increase creativity. In her spare time, she enjoys alpine skiing, hiking, road & mountain biking, running and travel with her husband Tom and 2 children Sydney and TJ.