Learned Behavior: Recharging Your Batteries

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by Steve Holt on May 11, 2014

We’ve all been there. Worn out. Tired. Brain fried. Or my dad’s favorite… plumb tuckered out. I’ve been so mentally drained so many times over the past 6 months that sometimes I literally fall into bed at the end of the day and I’m out like a light in 5 minutes. You ever felt like that? Having said all that, I can also say that most days I do it to myself and can’t blame anybody else for putting me in those positions. Like many other people, I find it hard to draw the line between work and home and more often than not, there is no line. I bring my laptop and a stack of papers home with me so I can do work in the evenings and on weekends. I check work email at all hours of the day and night and my cellphone is never far from my pocket. I text my colleagues and co-workers during off-work hours about work stuff. And I too often find myself filling my empty hours at home with more work. I know you know what I mean.

Part of my problem is my personality. When I was a kid, if they had prescribed drugs for hyperactive kids I would have been put on them, I feel sure. I’ve always been a bit energetic, and you’ll often see me shaking my leg or tapping my foot, usually without even knowing it. So I have a hard time sitting still, which my wife can attest to. Add to that my various careers in technology fields over the past 20 years and my access to all forms of wonderful gadgets, and you see why I have a problem.

Just like my dying cellphone, I am not spending enough time charging my own battery.

Another part of my problem, if you can call it a problem. is that I want to succeed. I want to be the one that gets ahead. The guy who has the answers and the guy who takes care of things. I have been told many times in my life things like, “Geesh, how do you get so much done with the same hours that everybody else has?” Well, the truth is that it isn’t hard to get more work done when you erase the line between home and work. And therein lies my problem.

So I am learning a new behavior: recharging my battery. And it truly is learned behavior. I am learning to draw the line a little darker between home and work. I am learning to resist the temptation to take my work home because it really can wait till Monday. And I am learning to spend more time on ‘home’. It was driven home to me quite clearly a few weeks ago when I texted a work colleague on a Sunday afternoon to ask him a question about something we had forgotten to discuss on Friday before leaving work. He responded a short time later with “Quit texting me on a Sunday. Go play with your kids.” It’s times like that when the idea of recharging your battery is quite clear. He doesn’t have a problem with that line. And I admire that. I know you can relate, so I’d love to hear your story about how you recharge your battery!

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