“I’ll do it tomorrow”, “I’m too tired”- its something we all guilty of. We postpone life for work. We arrive home from our 8-hour stint behind the desk, and find ourselves lackluster and hollowed out. But instead of filling that void with what we love – our hobbies and such, we sink into the couch and drift away into mindless abyss. Now I am not dissing television and vegetating – I mean I love a good vegging session in front of the TV as much as the next guy but the problem comes in when we look back at the end of the day and see we didn’t do much. I am not talking about excel spreedsheets, budgets and presentations – I am confident in the fact that we all have some of those on our desktop together with Sticky-note to do lists which rival the diaries of the A-List celebrities.
But so what? Now let me add that I am obsessed when it comes to my career, unashamedly so. I get the shakes on days of leave if I haven’t signed in at least once to check my emails. Now whilst I don’t think there is anything wrong with being career-focused as I am a big believer in making your own destiny, it does become a problem when you let the other aspects of your life fall behind.
My writing was one such aspect, now whilst it doesn’t bring home the bacon (even though I regularly send out pitches to magazines) it does bring a smile to my face. It’s a release, an escape from the day to day and into my thoughts. Whilst my day to day work involves thinking about legislation, figures, calculations and business logic, when I write I allow my other thoughts to reign free. Creativity, music, film, society, language, love, all intermingle as I drift away.
Whilst some people will mock these “softer” topics, and berate one for losing focus, I beg to differ. It’s like sitting at a computer screen, after an hour or even less of staring at the subject matter your eyes will start to strain. Any good optometrist will tell you to take a break and allow your eyes to re-focus. You do this by breaking focus, allowing your eyes to settle on something in the distance just beyond your PC screen, and then moving your gaze back to the screen and once more away.
Your goals can be work-related but shouldn’t be work-orientated, they should be personal, and they should be as human as you. They should breathe, grow and develop like you.
This is not merely an exercise you do for your eyes, but one we should do for life. Sometimes we need to break focus, allow ourselves to re-evaluate the image before us, regain focus. Now whilst we are breaking focus, we aren’t looking back, we’re looking past the goal we have set, granting ourselves a greater, more three-dimensional image. This is important, and whilst we mustn’t lose sight of our goal, we cannot become lost in it. If we allow ourselves to become too casual with the dream it will become blurred, lack its colour and become exhausting. I find this so true when I view art, I can stare at a painting for hours, but every time I re-look at the painting I see something new. It’s all about context, a man is not an island, and nor should your dreams (a construct of our humanity) be. Sometimes the goal we have held onto for so fast is completely wrong. And if we don’t allow ourselves to frankly be human, how are we to know?
So go out there, work your arse off from 9 to 5, but don’t lose yourself in the process. You are more than “Jill from Accounting” or “Peter in HR”. Your goals can be work-related but shouldn’t be work-orientated, they should be personal, and they should be as human as you. They should breathe, grow and develop like you.
Refocus, renew that dream and rewind the episode of HTGAWM you missed whilst reading this blog.