Harried Woman? Me.

…we know from daily life that we exist for other people first of all for whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends.

—Albert Einstein

 Today’s paper had an article which caught my undivided attention.  No,  it wasn’t about the proposed $700Bn bailout or the latest government scandal.  The title went something like this:  “Do you have the harried woman syndrome?  In it,  a few sentences lit my inner light bulb: “Studies have found that many of us are suffering from continued partially interrupted state, an inability to focus, reflect and process tasks and information. Sucked into the vortex of speed and haste, we have also lost the ability to enjoy the simple things in life. We killed joy.  We have become wretched, burnt-out slaves to time. “

I don’t know about you but I dread month-ends.  Month-end signifies impossible deadlines which need to met.   There are days when I feel that I’m living to work,  not working to live.  This month has been particularly wretched.  It has been increasingly difficult not to bring work home… not to wake up in the middle of the night, reaching for an invisible keyboard. Heck… it’s been hard to sleep while my brain running at full steam,  thinking of the gaps I missed in my write-ups. 

I’ve been running in this darn rat race for so long,  I’m starting to forget why I entered in the first place.   Carl Honore wrote In Praise of Slowness, advocating living a slower, more measured existence, giving more emphasis to the relationships we have with others and with ourselves.  I keep telling myself to slow down… to unplug… to savor the moment.  Instead,  I’m typing this during a stolen moment, while my family is sleeping.

Harried woman?  That’s me.

Sigh.

I really have to learn how to downshift from a life of hurry to a life of slow and easy.

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Barbara Winter’s Six Pillars of Entrepreneurial Success

Sometimes, a 9-to-5 job just doesn’t cut it any more. It can cut into too many things — quality time with family, to indulge in your passion etc.  Freelance work is starting to look more and more attractive and increasingly lucrative.  Who wouldn’t want to be paid to do what you enjoy?

Barbara Winter, author of the best-selling Making a Living Without a Job shares her “Six Pillars of Entrepreneurial Success”.  This was done in relation to freelance photography but can very well be applied elsewhere.

Pillar # 1: Find Inspiration
Find your “natural habitat’ — the place you feel most at home.  It could be your home, nature, heck, even the mall.  Immerse yourself in your favorite books, music, movies, and other art.

Pillar # 2: Gather Information and Ideas
A determined entrepreneur believes that she can find what she needs at any step along the way, and monitors what she needs to know next.  This is so easy to do in this electronic age – if anything, you run the risk of info overload.  Which leads to…

Pillar # 3: Find Your Heroes and Heroines
You’ll find success faster as an entrepreneur if you’re willing to learn from other successful entrepreneurs. Even if they aren’t doing what you want to do, you can learn from their methods.

Pillar # 4: Reinforce Your Dream
Keep coming back to your big dream. Whatever you have your eye on — keep it in your sights. It’ll make it easier to get through the tough times.

Pillar # 5: Develop a “Prosperity Attitude”
Barbara pointed out that most of us aren’t brought up with a “prosperity attitude.” Money can be an emotionally charged issue. So it’s important to leave behind limiting thoughts on what you deserve to have or to earn. Open yourself up to making money and being prosperous.

Pillar # 6: Find a Supportive Community
Supportive people can make a world of difference. entrepreneurial success. You need those people who you can call to share in your excitement.  These are the ones who get excited about your projects and ideas, who help you think up solutions, and who hold on to your dream when you lose track of it… so it will be there waiting for you when you’re ready to pick it up again.

So here goes my mantra:  Work to Live.  Live to Love.

Sources of Info:
http://www.thetravelwriterslife.com
http://www.thephotographerslife.com

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Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials. ~Meryl Streep

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Are you an ‘extreme worker’?

Do you know someone to exhibits these signs?
— Long work weeks — put in over 70 hours a week on the job
— Are available to serve clients and deal with their emergencies at any time of the day or night.
— Little time off. Take 10 or fewer vacations per year, far fewer than they are entitled to.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett, recently wrote an article in the Harvard Business Review about the rise of the “extreme worker”. Increased competition for high-level positions and declining job security has encouraged excessive work. The image of the overachiever has been glamorized and the financial rewards have been great. As has been the fallout in their personal lives.

We live in a world which celebrates the extreme.. from extreme sports to extreme reality shows. There is little room for moderation.

I don’t know if that is the American way of life which has insiduously seeped into our own culture. I look at envy at the Europeans who have such joie de vivre.. and take their month long vacations seriously. Laura Stack said it best: Overwork is not a competition worth winning.