Goals for how we want to end every day of work! Feet kicked up, computers closed, and thoughtful conversation on the perfect southern porch!
This was reality at the Zero George hotel when we were in Charleston in January and we’ve been daydreaming about it ever since. One of our goals this year is to truly work on disconnecting from our todo lists, emails and computers and leaving our work at work when we shut our at-home office doors. We have a new saying in our household: check out to check in with what truly matters most at the end of the day. What matters most isn’t how many check marks you have on your daily todo list, how many emails you answered or how many work wins you had. What matters is the time that you get to soak in with your nearest and dearest or even just the time to yourself.
We talk a lot on here about creating YOUR balance. It’s never really a destination but more like a journey. It can be messy, it can sound crazy to your best bud and it can evolve with you through different seasons. I can honestly tell you that I feel like I fight to create balance every. single. day! It is far from easy and there are some days that end where I really do feel like I was balanced, or pretty close to it. And then there are other days where I feel like I’m drowning and I am counting down the hours (let’s be honest… the minutes) until my head can hit the pillow and I get the chance to try again tomorrow.
I can remember the night that Jor and I landed on this new phrase of checking out to check in because it was one of those nights where we both felt like we were drowning and doing our best to stay afloat. I was knee deep in dissertation work, we were both plugging away at our full time jobs and then we were mixing in a production run of Happy Balance Planners. To put it simply, we were overwhelmed and we also felt disconnected from each other.
We both work from home so you’d think that would eliminate the feeling of never seeing each other. But, when you both have mile long todo lists that keep you inside your own head, you can eat lunch and dinner together without actually genuinely seeing, hearing and connecting with the other person. You can physically be there without mentally and emotionally being there. So, on one particular night when we were both utterly exhausted…both from the work and the emotional stress of not being there for and with the other like we wanted…we sat on our couch and were honest with each other.
Sometimes, to break a cycle of behavior, thoughts and actions you have to speak them into existence. Keeping it in your head almost makes what you’re feeling not all the way real. So, we sat on our couch that one evening and we used our words. We said out lout what had been eating away at us…we weren’t in balance. We weren’t in balance in our individual lives and we weren’t in balance with each other. We were stretching ourselves so thin and we were putting US, the Sherberts, at the bottom of the list of things to give our energy, time and emotion to.
Saying the words out loud released a layer of guilt and stress that we had both been carrying around with us and it also lifted a cloud.
We realized after saying it out loud that no matter where we were in our journey of creating balance, it was simply just that: a single point in the journey.
The next step was completely in our hands and in our control. We decided to choose US, to choose checking out of work, to choose checking in with each other and to choose what fills our cup and our hearts even more!
We’re working on the daily to let go of feeling guilty for ending work at a decent hour, not bringing it down to the couch after dinner and even going out on a date night in the middle of the week. Here are some of the new habits and routines we are embracing:
- We have a no phone at lunch/dinner rule so that we truly disconnect from the things that had our attention all day so that we can then be intentional with the other fully and completely.
- We try to do a few weeknight dinners without the TV on and instead fill the silence with meaningful conversation together.
- We’re trying to extend this beyond the dinner table and have quiet nights on the couch where we both put our phones and computers away, replace them with books that we quickly remember how into we are when given more than five minutes with them and we just enjoy the company of the other.
- We traded in big vacations right now for quiet 3 day get aways to simply relax, laugh, and just be completely present, knowing everything in our planners and on our computers will be right where we left it.
While it can be incredibly difficult getting to and then sitting in that vulnerable place where you admit that you fell short of your own expectations, you have to remember how much good can be on the other side of it. Sometimes it takes falling to realize not only where you want to go but also how badly you wanted to get there.
Jor and I remind each other on the daily that we are better with and because of the other and that is absolutely something worth fighting for in our journey of creating balance.
So today, if you are struggling in an area of your life, with a relationship or with yourself and it has you feeling so far off the pathway to what balance feels and looks like for you…stop! Take a breath, say out loud exactly what you’re feeling and what isn’t working so that you can take the first step in letting it go!
Now decide what you want to change and have the courage to check out of what isn’t serving you early, more frequently or even completely so that you can check in to what truly fuels you to become your very best self!