Pursue What Matters
Episode 185: How’s your Relationship with Work?
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
How’s your relationship with work? Have you lost your spark? Well, today, I want to help you do a health check on your relationship with work.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:11
Hi, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters Podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So I have a question for you. How’s your relationship with work? Do you feel burned out? Have you lost the spark of motivation you once had? Are you working too much? So if the answer to that question is yes, you need to check out my last two podcasts to learn more about the cost of working to match and the benefits of working less. So what’s true is we have lots of relationships in our lives. And the more self awareness we have, and that we can bring to our relationships, the more intentional and proactive we can be to create the kinds of relationships that we want. And here’s the thing, it’s the same with work. Have you ever considered your relationship with work that you actually have a relationship with work, right, just like you have a relationship with colleagues, just like you have a relationship with your partner or relationship with your children or your loved ones, you also have a relationship with your body, right. So I’ll talk more about that another time. But we also have a relationship with work. So today, I hope you will consider that right and think about like how you’re approaching work, what gets in the way, what undermines you what propels you. And our goal is to really help you increase self awareness, and commitment to effective action, for your health, well being and success at work. So of course, every week with the podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters. By strengthening your confidence to lead. I try to do that in one of three areas. So leading with clarity, where are you going? And why does it matter? Leading with curiosity? So what kind of self awareness Do you have, and then leading and building a community and so today, are really primarily focusing on helping you lead with curiosity. Self awareness is the foundation for self leadership, it’s very difficult to lead others effectively, if you can’t first lead yourself. And so as we consider your relationship with work, we’re really focusing on helping you to lead with curiosity. So today, I have six questions for you to help you assess your relationship to work. So the idea here is that we want to help you work toward three important goals. So the first goal is we want an increase in self awareness. Second, we want an increase in self leadership. And third, we want an increase in effective action. So right, we want to increase your drive for effective action. So let’s jump right in with our first question. So how do you feel when you are at work?
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:28
You might feel a lot of different things. So right, are you energized? Are you excited? Are you purpose driven? So Eckhart Tolle, who speaks? So wisely on so many subjects, talks about purpose driven work, bringing an intensity of purpose where we feel very driven in our work, but it’s not accompanied by obsessiveness, it’s not accompanied by anxiety. So are you energized? Are you excited? Are you purpose driven? Or Are you overwhelmed? Are you stressed? Are you burned out? Are you exhausted? So that first question, how do you feel when you are at work? Right? So this is a self check. This is an assessment where we help you to understand the contours of your relationship with work. And for a lot of us, we don’t ever really ask these questions, and then we wonder why we’re miserable or why we’re sick all the time, or while why we’re burned out. And so the goal, again, is to help you increase self awareness, self leadership, and drive towards effective action. So now let’s head to our second question. So how do you feel when you are preparing for work? So I call this the Sunday night blues. So how do you feel on Sunday night? You know, you maybe you’ve had a nice relaxing weekend. You’ve had a fun weekend. And we think about the transition from weekend to week. A as you’re preparing to return to work on Monday, right? Do you get a little blue? Do you get a little anxious? Do you get excited? Right?
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:13
So I’ve certainly had my fair share of the Sunday night blues, where, you know, I’d have a great relaxing weekend and then on Sunday night, I’d start to, I start to feel anxious, or I’d start to feel like frustrated, like, oh, like, I don’t want to go to work tomorrow. And right, I didn’t like that feeling. And it’s not really consistent with how I feel about work. And so I tried to get curious about it, right, which is an invitation to each of you. And what I learned about my experience, when when I get to Sunday night, and when I’m thinking about the week ahead, is that I’m not good at managing my pace. So I do too much, right. So when I get to work, I want to be efficient. And sometimes I push too hard without having built in brakes. And so then after a weekend, where I’m able to reset, I’m able to relax, and slow down a little bit, right, it first of all, it’s really beneficial, it’s good. And the thought of like checking back into high gear is kind of daunting. And that’s one of the factors that I found contributed to my Sunday night blues. And so, you know, for me, I was able to make some changes in terms of my approach, and then also just my pacing at work. And of course, we’re not always able to be in charge of our schedule, I feel really grateful that I am in that position. And so one thing that I was able to do is I just made sure that I have time blocked out on Monday mornings, for setting the week for getting organized for maybe working on a project so that I’m not starting Monday morning on phone calls or on specific client work. So kind of giving myself a launch pad for the week. And that’s been incredibly helpful. And then another thing, right, it’s just like pacing through the week, like slowing down building break times. So So again, the question is how do you feel when you are preparing for work, so maybe you get the Sunday night blues, maybe you get excited about going to work the next day or thinking about the projects you’re working on? That’s great. So we just want to note how you’re feeling.
Dr. Melissa Smith 7:35
So if you notice kind of the Sunday night blues, so like the anxiety or depression or frustration, you know, if you know that that’s a pattern, of course, we want to pay attention to what may help. So, you know, maybe you prepare for the week ahead on Sunday morning, don’t do that Sunday evening, when you’re already maybe caught in those emotions. So move that back in, in the weekend. And then better yet is that you plan for the upcoming week, the Friday before so that you don’t you don’t have to take that bandwidth during your weekend. Another thing that you want to pay attention to right if you notice this pattern is take your full weekend. So don’t start planning on Sunday night. So build in a buffer so that you don’t have to plan for the week ahead until Monday. So you can then redirect your thoughts back to family time. When workloads come up. You can plan an activity to keep your mind from drifting into work mode. So one of the things that I found is it was good to watch a movie with my family or have a game night on Sunday night to kind of keep me from really getting caught in those Sunday night blues. So that’s our second question. How do you feel when you are preparing for work? So when you’re getting ready to go to work? And now our third question. So how do you feel when you end a workday? So do you feel depleted? Do you feel exhausted? Do you feel stressed out? Or do you feel excited? Do you look forward to the next workday? Are you ready to be done? Are you looking forward to family time? Are you looking forward to play time? And so right there’s not necessarily a right or wrong or good or bad. But if you’re consistently feeling absolutely depleted and stressed out, at the end of the workday, you need to reassess like you need to either build in some break time you need to have some conversations about boundaries and work limit and really pay attention to what you can do to help yourself.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:42
So you know, I one of the constraints I have is I work a shorter work day. And certainly one of my patterns is I push really hard and can end up pretty depleted pretty exhausted at the end of the day. And my workday ends earlier right so I still have Have, I still have a fair amount of my day and I didn’t like that feeling of like, I have nothing left to give. And so you know, one of the things that I’ve had to do is just build in pause moments, build in rest periods, even if it’s two minutes of paced breathing, even if it’s a 10 minute meditation. And that’s made a really big difference for me in terms of not ending the work day, exhausted. The other thing I do, and this doesn’t work for everyone, but I take a 20 minute nap, at the end of every work day. And I get up, I get up very early, I get up in the three o’clock hour. And so having a nap around, you know, three or 330 is super helpful. And it gives me that boost, I need to make it through the afternoon in the evening. And you know, feeling energized. And so paying attention to how you feel when you end a workday. So if you’re like chronically stressed out, we really need to pay attention to, you know, what, what needs to happen? Do you need to, to get better at using coping skills? Do you need to have a conversation with your team about about workload, so we hope that this reflection can drive some effective action. Okay, and so now let’s head to question four. So how often do you feel these ways? Right? So how much of a pattern is this? So do you feel these ways? You know, occasionally? So what factors impact this? So if you’re like, Yeah, occasionally, I end the day pretty stressed out? Right? What are the factors that impact this, so maybe you didn’t get enough rest, maybe you have a big deadline coming up, maybe you feel less autonomy or support at work. So we really want to pay attention to the factors that contribute to you feeling those Sunday night blues, or dreading work or feeling totally stressed out at the end of the day. Now, if the answer to the question of how often do you feel these ways is all the time, right? This is more of a significant pattern that obviously, we want to pay attention to because it really points to difficulty coping, a too big of a workload, maybe unrealistic expectations, maybe some perfectionism. And so again, these questions are all designed to help you to get curious, so you can really understand what might be going on for you there. So that takes us to our fifth question. So how does your work impact others? So you might feel like, Hey, I’m fine. I can manage this. I’m doing well. But people in your life feel differently. So how does your relationship with work impact others? So do you have a poor attitude? Do you have low motivation? Do you have depression or anxiety? And does this rub off on other people or impact them? So thinking about family, you need to pay attention to their complaints, hey, we never see you. You’re always angry when you get home from work, it’s important to keep in mind that quality of time is a function of quantity of time, especially when it comes to family life. So if you’re never there, right, it’s hard to have high quality relationships with your loved ones. How many of your family activities do this do to work? And right, like, be gentle with yourself on these questions, because it can kick up shame and guilt. But we do want to pay attention to these things. Because, you know, you might feel really purpose driven about your work. But that work takes you away from some of your most important commitments. And because it’s purpose driven for you, you can kind of tolerate that a little bit more, but it has maybe a more negative impact on your family members. And of course, you need to pay attention to that. Right? Like there’s there’s shared responsibility there when it comes to our relationships.
Dr. Melissa Smith 14:01
So when it comes to kids activities and family activities, pay attention and plan for the ones that really matter. So you know, you don’t have to plan every Halloween party. You don’t have to be the room mother or the room father in your kiddos classroom, but be intentional about showing up to the things that matter most to your kiddos. Right. So one of the things that we would talk about with our kids right at the beginning of the school year, we usually had a pretty good idea of what would be happening right so for the major holidays there were going to be parties right there was going to be Valentine’s party there was going to be a Halloween party there was going to be a holiday Christmas party ended the year celebration. There’s gonna be filled day, right. And then we also pretty much knew what field trips were coming up, right? So it’s like, oh, we’re going to this big museum in November and then we’ve got another trip out to the West desert in the spring. And so as a fan Family, we kind of knew what was coming up. And we could have these conversations with our kiddos of you know, okay. You know, mom and dad probably can’t come to everything. But what would you really want us there for? And where do you really want dad there? And where do you really want mom there? And that those are good conversations to have. And you also think about like, Okay, where can my skills be most helpful? And where, you know, could could this be most engaging and right, like, I don’t love kids parties. Those who know me, probably know that really well. And so like planning a Halloween party, like not my thing, I’ve done it.
Dr. Melissa Smith 15:43
But one of the things I found is I got a lot better at that when my husband was part of the equation. And so when we could do that together, it was really fun. And sometimes he took charge of that, right. So he would do the Halloween party, and I do field trip later in the year, because he was a riot and the kids loved him. And naturally, that was just a really good fit for him and so much fun for our kiddos. And so you know, you don’t have to be there for everything, but be intentional, and be there for what matters, right? And your kiddos determine what matters, right? It’s their experience. And so working, of course, together with your families and your spouses to make those things happen, can really make a big difference. So, back to this question, how does your work impact others? We’ve talked some about family. And now let’s talk about team members at work. So those you work with colleagues? Are you a slave driver? Are you absent? Like do people not even know that you’re around? Is it hard for team members to get support from you? Do you micromanage team members? Do you have unrealistic timelines? Are your expectations misaligned? Are you unaware of the details of work? Are you unaware of what is required to be successful? And so one of the stories that I love to hear from Brene Brown, she talks about her organization, right where she thinks she thinks everything takes two weeks. And so she’s not always very realistic about timelines. And so it’s really important that her team lets her know, hey, that’s not realistic. And we’re gonna have to do this and this and this and this to make that happen. And that’s going to be at least six months. And so you need to have awareness about that you need to have a culture where you can give feedback where you can say, hey, no, that’s totally not gonna work. And so, you know, we want to think about how your work impacts others, because It most certainly does. And sometimes that’s for good, and sometimes, that’s for bad.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:53
Okay. And now, to our last question, question six, how does your work impact your health? So, you know, are you keeping up on your health appointments? Or do those continually get pushed aside or canceled or rescheduled because of your work? Schedule? What is the impact of unmanaged stress? Are you chronically stressed? Are you able to be proactive about coping skills? Do you have decreased social connection, right, like you just don’t have time to connect? Do you have few interests outside of work? When work takes over your life, you become a less balanced person. Some of the other ways that your relationship with work can impact your health is poor sleeping, poor eating habits, maybe you’re constantly experiencing jetlag because of travel between time zones, and inadequate movement, so right like you’re not able to take care of your help. And so again, we want to ask these questions with curiosity and compassion. So it’s not to judge you. It’s not to shame you, but it is to help you build greater self awareness, greater commitment to self leadership, and increase effective drive to action. And so again, today, we had six questions to help you assess your relationship to work. Question one how do you feel when you’re at work to how do you feel when you’re preparing for work? We talked about the Sunday night blues three How do you feel when you end the work day? Four, how often do you feel these ways? Five How does your work impact others? And six, how does your work impact your health?
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:41
So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with the resources for this episode www.drmelissasmith.com/185-relationshipwithwork one more time that’s www.drmelissasmith.com/185-relationshipwithwork. So of course you can connect with me on Instagram @dr.melissasmith everyday I have a lot of great content related to the podcast. And in the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care
Transcribed by https://otter.ai