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VOL. 42 | NO. 45 | Friday, November 9, 2018

How does one find balance between work, relaxation?

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

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The weekend whizzed by quickly. What little part of weekend you had, that is, because it seems like you’re always working.

Your phone’s in your hands. Paperwork’s nearby. You get emails at all hours, and there’s no time left for you. So read “How to Not Always Be Working,” by Marlee Grace and see how to disconnect.

Almost four years ago, Marlee Grace backed herself into a corner.

She was in a faltering marriage, living in Michigan and running a business when she decided to take up knitting to help her deal with stress. But part of her business included yarn, so even when she fell in love with knitting she realized that she couldn’t run from the stress. Her hobby had become work.

Fast forward a few years. Divorced, Grace moved to Northern California and opened a new business that relies on her artistry. Still, her days of “too much” nagged at her, so she wrote this book for people (like her) who can’t leave work at work.

The first recommendation is to get a watch, an alarm clock and a disposable camera. The aim is to ease your reliance on your cell phone.

Next, figure out what’s work and what’s not. Which parts do you enjoy so much that you breeze through them, and which parts make you want to scream?

How Not to Always be Working

by Marlee Grace

c.2018, William Morrow

$16.99

112 pages

Be ultra-aware of the former. When you’re doing those tasks, it’s hard to remember that you’re working, which makes it difficult to disengage. With the latter, give yourself plenty of appropriate-length breaks or rewards while you’re doing them.

Make your workspace feel like not-work, especially if you work from home.

Learn to literally compartmentalize tasks. Grace suggests a box for each project to hold notes or ideas.

Get rid of all apps on your phone that are not necessary (and that’s probably most of them). Unplug, unplug, unplug by following an intriguing exercise that Grace explains. And finally, remember that lots of people have struggled with this, and they’ve managed to figure things out…

Fair warning: your first inclination might be to dismiss “How To Not Always Be Working” as fluffy. It is a small gifty-type book and rather on the new-agey side. But it also has ideas that might work if you need to get away from work.

The author is big on list-making so – more warning! – be prepared. She lends creativity and fun to such tasks in the most guileless way, which underscores the premise of the entire book.

Through these and other exercises, readers are led to really understand what makes work feel like an evil necessity, what makes it a joy and how to strike a balance. Reading it is somewhat like re-learning to play but remembering that you’re a grown-up, too.

So put away your phone (really!), take out a pen and get ready for some non-work non-thinking. With “How to Not Always Be Working,” it won’t take long for you to be a relaxation whiz.

Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of business books are read in more than 260 publications in the U.S. and Canada.