In days gone by, it was easy to tell when you were on the job and when you were off the clock. If you were at the office or your place of employment, you were expected to be working. But if you were home, you could relax. There were clear boundaries between your work and the rest of your life.
In many ways, those days are just a distant memory. In a world of fax machines, emails, text messages, mobile offices, tablet computers, and multifunction cell phones, those boundaries have all but disappeared. As a result, our lives are busier than ever.

At the advent of the computer age, it seemed as though modern technology would simplify our lives and free us up for more enjoyable activities. In the 1960s, a U.S. Senate subcommittee actually expressed concerns that technological advances would force people to work fewer hours and retire at an earlier age.

Instead of reducing the demands of work, however, technology has increased those demands. Instead of creating extra time to relax, technology has increased the pace of life. Many people are expected to be reachable any time of day or night, even when they are on vacation. Boundaries that used to exist have long since eroded. The result is that many people no longer have a “down time” when they can become re-energized.

During the past generation, the number of hours a person spends at work has increased by 22 per cent. Simultaneously, people enjoy 8.5 fewer hours of leisure time every month. Consequently, the unreleased pressures they face cause stress levels to escalate into dangerous territory.

To reclaim balance in life, and to win the battle against stress, you need to reclaim some boundaries. Establish times when you are purposefully unreachable by computers or cell phones. Create brief windows throughout the day when you can relax, enjoy some silence, and find peace for the body and soul.

For the sake of your family, establish a family night or date night. Protect that time with a passion. Do not allow the busyness of work to creep in and take over that time. Your family needs you, and you need them.

Every week, carve out a 24-hour period when you are “off the clock.” Biblically, this is described as observing the “Sabbath”.  Do not feel guilty about this; you need the time to re-energize and to focus on worship. Studies have repeatedly shown that you become much more efficient at your work when you take a day off every week.

The human body itself reveals the value of establishing boundaries. For instance, muscles are built when they are subjected to stress and then allowed time to recover. Constant stress only harms them. As a muscle needs time to recover, you also need time when you can recover from the stresses of life. Trust God with the building of your life house and enjoy the rest that he offers. “Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep” (Proverbs 127:1-2, KJV).

Creating these types of boundaries in your life is good for you physically, mentally, and spiritually. If you have been a victim of the always-on-the-go lifestyle, you may find it difficult to establish these boundaries. But as you consistently and purposefully make them a part of your life, you will reap the benefits and become grateful for them.

In Women Under Construction, I describe how the building of your life house is an ongoing process that will continue throughout your life. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself accordingly, allowing times for recovery. If you do, you will be able to endure for the long haul.

 


Comments

Kendra
02/22/2012 8:25pm

I was just telling a friend the other day about how weekends don't seem to exist for me (I work from home). I used to think I could take time off any time I like, but it seems the opposite - I can never really get away from work.

Not that it's all bad. I mostly enjoy my job, but the Sabbath day rule is a good one that I think I'll stick with.

Thanks Tifphanie :)

Reply
Samm
02/24/2012 8:06pm

Working those extra hours to get that extra bit of cash really never pays off. This I've learned from experience!

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dobson
02/28/2012 9:16pm

Imposing boundaries on ourselves now and we will reap the benefits soon enough. Funny how that is ;-)

Reply
Latonya
03/03/2012 6:17pm

I so look forward to the Sabbath day. It's the one day I don't feel guilty working!

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