Happy Friday everyone. It’s Day 33 of the Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose Project, and though I try to be a TGIMTWTHFSATSUN kind of girl, I’m especially fond of Friday. Just because I look forward to the weekend doesn’t mean I don’t love my job. Joel Osteen once said, “It’s not I’ve got to go to work” it’s “I get to go to work” and I agree with him. I feel incredibly blessed to have a job that aligns with my values and purpose and that I enjoy doing. Because of that, not only my days – all of them – but my weeks go by quickly.
This week, a short one, due to the long Memorial Day weekend, flew by not just because it was three days but because I moved from my downstairs cubicle to an upstairs office. As much as it was more work than you can shake a stick at to get my own books, equipment, files, paperwork and supplies moved, getting all of my decor and personal mementos situated was almost as important to me. Part of the reason I love Shabby Chic style is that its three maxims: beauty, comfort and function resonate with me. Working in a functional but sterile or ugly environment just won’t cut it for me. So in every office I’ve ever had, I make incorporating things that serve a purpose and are lovely to look at, a priority. After all, we spend too much time at work, whether in an office building or an office at home, for it not to work on every level.
Since we do spend so much of our lives at work, not only is it important for it to feel somewhat like home, it’s important that it not become home. It’s easy to let the two worlds collide, and they will at times, but ideally, that would be the exception rather than the norm. Even when working at home, be it self-employed, as an employee of a company, or as a highly underpaid homemaker, maintaining some type of separation between work and home is critical for balance.
This doesn’t happen automatically, is not easy to accomplish, and is often not readily accepted by everyone in the workplace. While there are ways to advocate appropriately for work life balance, I’ll save that for another post. What I would like to do is share something that has worked for me. About four years ago, I presented a women’s workshop on this topic for the first time. I painstakingly cut out card stock keys with this mantra attached “Work will be here tomorrow. Right now, my life is waiting for me.” Then, I had the participants close their eyes as I guided them through a visualization exercise. With music playing softly in the background, I described what a busy work day might be like, the ups and the downs, the losses and wins. Then I asked them to see themselves taking a key in their hand and locking the door to their work life. Next, I had them unlock their life by describing what their transition to home might look like, the commute home decompressing to music, being greeted by their pet, taking their heels off, spending time with loved ones, alone with a good book or favorite TV show, in their sanctuaries where their life awaited. As I brought them back into the room, each woman was given one of those painstakingly cut out keys. We debriefed the activity and all committed to hanging our keys somewhere in our workspace – the door, bulletin board, computer monitor – somewhere visible that would serve as a reminder to daily open and close the doors to work and life.
A while back, I replaced the cardboard key with a bling-y one I found from (Where else?) TJMaxx. Of course it made the move upstairs with me. It lay on the table beneath the two Florentine frames with pics of my kiddos yesterday and today as I contemplated where to place it. In the end, the location was a no-brainer (after two days of thought!). I haven’t had a door for a few years with so many companies going to cubicle land, but now my key to balance is back where it belongs. Each time I lock up for the day, I’ll be reminded to be Pink Collar Savvy & Chic on Purpose as I compartmentalize my personal and professional worlds. I hope you’ll consider trying the visualization and getting yourself a Pink Collar Key to Work Life Balance.