April 27: Lower The Bar

Every Wednesday, I’ll (try) to post up a Simple Living Tip, with an emphasis on tips that can be done while living a more traditional 9-to-5 life. 

Someone once said to me that you can’t be a good employee and a good parent at the same time.  While I don’t think that is true, I do agree that having equally high expectations in all areas of your life can be an obstacle to simplifying life. 

If you had a really difficult day at work, you’ll probably not going to be the most attentive parent or spouse that night.  That’s okay. And if you’re really missing your kid(s) that day, you may be a little unfocused at work.  That’s okay, too.  We are not always performing at our best in every area of life.  If you set a high bar for yourself (and others) all the time, you’re going to run yourself ragged and be very stressed out.  

Of course there will be people who think that “lowering the bar” because I’m a mom means I must be a bad employee.  However, I want to be clear that I don’t advocate a complete surrender, especially if you’re not a favored or star employee to begin with. What I mean is that within work (and within parenthood, housekeeping, exercise, blogging and all areas of life), there’s wiggle room.  I’m not going to be an unmotivated employee every single day. I am not going to slack off and offload work to co-workers. I’m going to find more efficient ways to do my job, such as doing a weekly report on a monthly basis now that the data is no longer as vital.  I may not volunteer for difficult assignments that give me a headache; instead I’ll volunteer for equally difficult assignments that match my skills better.  Or conversely, you can take on high-profile assignment or projects that is important to your supervisor or company and delegate projects that take time but bring little rewards.

What I do suggest is that you examine your life and see if you can cut yourself some slack, or alternate priorities so that the bar is lower in one area or other.  Don’t expect a perfectly clean house, a full social calendar, attentive parenting and exceptional work all in the same week.  And if you find that one area is always demanding your energies, usually work, then step back and try to find ways to re-focus once in a while for the sake of balance.

Do you think lowering the bar can help you live a simpler life, or simply a slacker life?


2 responses to “April 27: Lower The Bar

  1. My bar’s so high I can hardly reach it! I’m the boss, so I’ll have to have a word with myself…

  2. I think striving for perfection can be damaging, because nothing really ever truly measures up. I could wax poetic about how life is about the journey and not the destination and blah blah blah, but I think cutting yourself some slack is the key to sanity. With work, kids, etc., who couldn’t use a little sanity?

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