There are three things in life that truly make me happy: my family, my job, and triathlon. I'm one of the rare lucky people that really enjoys their job. I'm selfish in that if only one or two of those things are going well, then I don't feel as happy as I should be. All three need to be going well for me to really feel great. Because time is limited, I am often sacrificing one, two, or sometimes even all three of those things.
More often than not, it's triathlon that gets cut out of the equation when things get busy. In 2008, my work hours went up quite a bit, and around April 2009, they increased drastically. I was putting in 60-65 hours per week, sometimes even up to 75 hrs/week a couple of times. I quickly cut out triathlon, and unfortunately, family time also was sacrificed. I was really happy with my job productivity, but I was a very unhappy person overall.
In 2010, I made a promise to cut back on work because the sacrificing family time was unacceptable anymore. I did cut back to 50-55 hrs/week and family life was a lot more fun (because there was more of it!). That was great, but it's still only 2/3rds of what I really want out of life.
Now, in 2011, something hit me. Here are some data on my cycling miles by year, a surrogate for my 'triathlon' aspect of life happiness:
Yes, my cycling miles have plummted from over 3,000 per year to a mere 106 miles in 2010. I had carved out more time for family in 2010, but I felt too selfish to carve out more time for my personal happiness (i.e., triathlon). I realized this year that I need to be more selfish. So I've started taking some more time for myself and restricting my work to only 40-45 hrs/week. Holy cow! I can't believe how much free time someone has when they work 40 hrs/week!! I feel great. I'm sticking to a very modest training schedule: 3 runs per week, 1-2 bike rides per week. Nothing too fancy since I'm not preparing to race anytime soon, just enjoying the time being active. And I still have lots of time for family at home and with the kids' sports. Melanie has time to get in her workouts, too. And while my work hours have reduced, I try to be extremely efficient with the limited hours I have and still be productive. I'm pretty happy with how well I'm getting more done with less hours with work.
I'm as happy as I've been in years. So far so good, but I hope you find a similar level of happiness in your lives!
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY EVERYONE!