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Happy Birthday, America!

I love the 4th of July and the opportunity to celebrate the birthday of the United States of America.

4th of JulyPerhaps my love of celebrating Independence Day stems back to my birthday and my brother’s birthday falling close to July 4th… and as kids my mom totally had us believing that the whole country was celebrating our birthday’s with fireworks and family BBQs. (I’m on to you now, Mom!)

Today, my love for Independence Day is because it’s a time where family comes together and there is no expectation of gifts. (That’s my biggest beef with the Christmas time of year). Rather, we spend time eating good food, connecting with our community with parades and community patriotic events, and the fireworks! Eeeee! Oh, how I LOVE fireworks!

I also love how most companies use the 4th of July as a way to give a day off for their employees. We all need little breaks, and a paid day off to celebrate the Independence of the USA is a great way to relax and recharge batteries.

When it comes to work and life balance, I highly recommend that you take advantage of a holiday and totally unplug! Disconnecting from work is vital to success in the long run because it gives you a good break.

So, if it’s Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Labor Day, etc., find a way to totally unplug and leave work behind. Focus instead on your family and friends and enjoy the moment with those important people.

The investment in the personal relationships is really important for work and life balance.

I’ve known too many people that do too much work and haven’t consistently set aside time for bonding with their families – especially their immediate family members. That lack of time invested has led to some drastic changes in family units (e.g.: divorce, alcoholism, etc.).

I’m not saying that checking email on your smart phone will lead to a divorce, but constantly checking on work related stuff – especially on a holiday – can really hurt relationships with family members. So, if you’re going to check those work emails on a holiday, might I suggest that you handle it very carefully. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Before the holiday festivities, talk to your significant other about the reasons why you need to check the emails (or do any kind of work). And it’s not okay to tell them “I have to! It’s my job!”
  • Discuss what time will be best for you to do the work. Stick to that time and keep ultra focused so that you can get the work done quickly.
  • If a work situation escalates to the point where you have to totally disengage from the holiday fun, you better be ready to explain yourself to your family.
  • If you have a family member who is choosing to do work on a holiday, even though you don’t want them to do the work, seek to understand why they feel compelled to do the work instead of be with family. Don’t let them get away with the “I have to! It’s my job!” excuse.

Unless you’re a medical professional, the world will go on if you don’t do the work on a holiday. So, be careful about what you choose to do.

And for the bosses out there, be careful about asking your employees to do work on/near a holiday. Most employees don’t want to upset their bosses, so if you REALLY NEED them to do the work, you may want to consider expressing your sincere gratitude to their family for having their family member work on a holiday. Ultimately, allowing your employees to disconnect from work and unwind is a great way to help them recharge their batteries before coming back to work after a holiday.

Work and life balance is all about the give and take of both areas of life. When one area takes over another area, it really throws the balance off. How are you going to find balance this coming 4th of July?