It’s a very important Friday in the states. It’s the Friday of a holiday weekend that signifies the unofficial end of summer: it’s the beginning of Labor Day Weekend.
Since Monday is a Federal holiday, and hopefully you and your loved ones will be enjoying some grilled food, last days in the pool or at the beach, and time off, we thought it best to give you some historical sound bites to share with anyone within earshot. You will totally sound like you know what you’re talking about.
The very first Labor Day took place on September 5, 1882. In the midst of the Industrial Revolution, where the country’s workforce was switching from a primarily agricultural living to a manufacturing one, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. This became known as the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. The idea of a holiday for the workingman caught on. Many states passed legislation recognizing it though Congress would not legalize the holiday until 12 years later.
That’s why the first Monday of every September is a Federal holiday. What will you do with your day off? Something with your family? Friends? For yourself? Almost any answer is the correct one. There’s only one wrong answer: working on your day off.
Sadly, the tether to our jobs is long reaching and strong thanks to the plethora of ways everyone can work remotely. The metaphorical rope around our waists keep us tied to our work desks as we wade in the ocean with the kids, go to dinner with our significant others, or attempt to decompress in any way. The problem with this kind of extended work hours into a 24-hour on-call expectation is that it removes focus.
Theories swirling around work-life balance can create a whirlpool of information and quickly drown someone just trying to figure out who has it figured out. So, let’s make it very simple.
Work-life balance is about focusing on what you’re doing when you’re doing it. That’s it.
If you’re at work, do your work. Think about your work. Work on your work. Get your work done and done well. Be all there so your boss can reap the benefits of hiring you and see that you’re not just a valuable asset, you’re an invested employee worth investing in.
Conversely, if you’re at home, be home. Think about your home life. Play with your kids. Talk to your significant other. Walk your dogs. Pet your cats. Read your book. Watch TV. Relax. Be all there. Time recharging is not time wasted; it’s as essential as sleep in order to function at the highest capacity when needed. If you’re off the clock, take the time. Be all there so you can reap the benefits of being home and the person you are there.
It sounds simple, but this kind of mindfulnesss (I know, this blog is chockfull of buzz
words) is no easy task. That makes it all the more important to practice it though.
Imagine what can be done if you truly focus. Forget the sexy illusion of multi-tasking. It’s as real as the oasis in a desert and will have you quenching your thirst with sand. You can only do well what you commit to doing fully. Perhaps the best example of what you are capable of when you focus on the moment is in American Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles. Practically defying the laws of physics on her floor routine and stunning in every other way, it’s easy to see where her mind is. If she’s thinking about what she has to do next or how the judges are scoring her or the “shoulda, coulda, wouldas” of life, she would have compromised being the best she could be in that moment. Imagine how hard that fall could be.
When trying to find that work-life balance, recognize the difficulty of the task and the simplicity of the solution.
Directly in front of you is your answer: take one step at a time and don’t think about the next ten. Be all in a moment to put the best of you into something and you’ll get the gold at both work and home. Happy Labor Day from all of us at The Alias Group!