Yesterday’s post about separating my career from my purpose was accepted with a less than lackluster response (okay, let’s be honest, there were crickets cricketing in the comment section). And that’s fine, I get it. I know that most people aren’t going to resonate with my purpose and career dilemma, after all it’s about my conflict with purpose and career. But I’m happy to say I think what came out of that realization is going to be some good food for thought today.
At least I hope so.
After realizing that I needed to pull my idea of purpose and career apart, I had a second light bulb moment.
You know how you always hear people say that if you really are in the “right job” it shouldn’t feel like work? That you should wake up each morning bounding out of bed itching to start your workday?
To be honest, I have always been puzzled by my reaction to those ideas – sure I have a career and purpose that are intertwined immensely, I have designed my career with such clarity that it’s amazing and incredible and purposeful and fun and helpful. But my real response to those questions used to be, “Sure, I like my job, and I SHOULD want to bound out of bed and rush to my career each morning, but I don’t. I just wander over to the computer and start working after I’ve gotten ready for the day and eaten breakfast. I don’t really dive out from under the covers into my career with a grin plastered on my face.”
While pulling apart the idea of my career and purpose it hit me; I thought I was working 40-50 hours a week on my career when the real answer was 119 hours a week!
I kid you not.
I have come to realize that for me, work is most largely tied to my inbox. I get orders through email, I get customer service requests through email, I get MML comments through email, I get letters from readers through email, I get twitter responses through email, I get sponsors through email, I get consulting clients through email, and I get bills through email. Having an online business, blog, and consulting business means my email is my access to my business.
Every time I check my email I am working on my career.
Whoa. Hold the phone. Every time I checked my email I was really working? Yep.
I was working because though I may not answer emails at night or before my morning oatmeal, I was still focusing, formulating responses in my head, and dwelling on what what going on in my career.
Which meant that though I may “work” from 9-10am until 5-6pm each weekday, I check my email every 10-15 minutes seven days a week.
My bedside alarm is on my smart phone, so the minute I turn off the alarm, I check my email. I then check it an average of 10 times before I’ve even sat at my computer to work. I check it every 2 minutes while working. In the evenings I continue checking email (excluding dinner) until after my head hits the pillow.
I even have checked it in the bathroom (okay, that might sound gross [it is] but I’m sure I’m not the only one…).
So yeah, I have been working on my career every waking moment for the past two years. Which totally explains why I don’t bound out of bed looking forward to work – I’m already working the minute I open my eyes!
And that is changing. Now.
Since Sunday I have decided NOT to check my email (aka work) after I am done working for the day. I also don’t check my email in the morning until I’m ready to start my workday.
And you know what? I now freaking LOVE my job!
I spend so much time now wondering about what new cool opportunities are coming my way while I’m spending time in the other areas of my life that are also important to me. And it leads to an awesome rush of excitement to turn on my laptop each morning. What neat things are going to happen today I wonder? Before, when I checked email 4-10 times an hour there was no awe and wonder in my career, I knew every second of every day what was going to happen. Which simply wasn’t healthy for my life.
And when I think to myself that this new focus of email during my workday might be too hard to follow I remember that my purpose in my career is to help people design lives with intention – and that means that by doing this myself, I’m also setting an example for others. I don’t want anyone to feel so out of balance in their lives from checking their inbox as frequently as I did. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, and I shouldn’t do it in my own life. By choosing this path, I am taking a stand for what can be possible in all of our lives.
So far I’m beyond thrilled with my results, I have much more presence with friends, my mom who is visiting this week, and with Mr. Lively. I am able to get way more done in other areas of my life because my career isn’t inserting itself in every nook and cranny of time that exists.
I have time to stop and smell the roses on the way to the FedEx store rather than check my email on my phone while trying not to stumble on a crack in the sidewalk.