Loren Lahav

How to Get Off the Treadmill of Life

Have you ever asked your friends to describe you? If you have, you know that the answers can be surprising—and telling.

I had a similar type of eye-opening experience after a recent event. The participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their time with me, and most people commented about how busy I seem. Some even suggested that I should slow down!

The idea that I’m an energizer bunny who works 24/7 is a common misconception of me. While it is true that I’m all about GOYA and taking action, I’m not all work, all the time.

When I’m on, I’m on hardcore. But when I’m off, I’m OFF.

It’s crucial to have these “off” times. We need to spend time away from our work to take care of our bodies and our spirit, let go of the stresses of the day and spend time with our loved ones and connect with our community.

But these days, more and more people find it difficult to find that “off” switch. They take their work home with them, checking their email late into the night—even in bed! Yikes!

It’s normal to feel the pressure to stay on the treadmill all day. Maybe that pressure comes from our boss, who piles more work on us than we could possibly do in 8 hours, causing us to stay late at the office.

Or maybe that pressure comes from ourselves. We have such high ambitions that we are afraid that if we relax just a little bit that we won’t achieve our goals—or that someone else will swoop in and lap us.

But we’re doing damage to ourselves if we give in to that pressure. If you have too much to do at work, talk to your boss. Establish boundaries. Ask for help.

If you’re putting that pressure on yourself, stop! Everyone needs to take breaks, and it’s not worth sacrificing your health and well being just to get more done. Working too much won’t get you where you want to go faster—it’ll lead you straight to burnout. Take some time away from your work, and you’ll be surprised to see how much more creative and productive you are when you’re refreshed!

To make sure you get your “off” time, set rules with yourself. Unplug at a certain time every night. Vow to not check work emails after that time and stick to it!

For me, that time is 7:00 p.m. That’s when I disconnect for “family time.”

I know it’s hard to do sometimes. My husband loves to watch movies and sometimes I can’t help but hear that little voice inside of me say “You could be doing something productive right now!”

But I ignore that voice and watch a movie with him because I know that this time is what matters most. I focus on how blessed I am to have the opportunity to be with those I love, and I enjoy being in that present moment.

It’s like Barbara Bush famously said, “At the end of your life you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child or a parent.”

Whatever rules you put in place, make sure they’re realistic. There’s no point in saying that you’ll have a home-cooked meal on the table at 6:30 every night if you know that’s a struggle. Or say you’ll get together with your girlfriends every Saturday morning for brunch if you love sleeping in. The idea is not to be perfect, but to create a manageable routine that allows you to slow down and enjoy your family, friends and passions.

Don’t be afraid to put reminders in your phone to help you stick to your routine. I have tons of reminders in my phone telling me to do all kinds of things from “do squats” to “call a friend”! We carry our phones with us always, might as well put them to work for us!

So what will you do to make sure you get off the treadmill and enjoy what matters most to you? What rules or boundaries will you put in place? Leave me a comment and let me know!