Life's Hamster Wheel

by: Minda Harts, Founder, The Memo

Posted up in my office are the following words: Hopeful, Fun, Relentless, Committed, Successful, and Confident.

Every time I look up from my computer, I see these six words staring me in the face. On days when I don’t feel confident, these words speak life to me. On days that don't seem successful, these words breathe life into me.

What words, phrases, or quotes breath life into you?

Oftentimes, we are grinding and hustling so hard that we can feel trapped in life's perpetual "hamster wheel." That wheel where we can’t stop, won’t "stop 'til you get enough," or do enough. That wheel makes us run so fast because we want to prove all the haters wrong.

But stop to think for a moment. When the lights are off, the phone’s on the charger, and it’s just you alone with your thoughts, what is it that you truly want out of your life? Ask yourself who you're running on the wheel for. Are you running on the wheel for your family? Are you running on the wheel for social media? Or, are you running on the wheel for yourself?

Since starting a business, I understand now, more than ever, the importance of self-preservation, and taking a moment to step off from my own wheel. I am a workhorse. I don’t know any other way to be. I take on a lot, and yet still feel like I'm not doing enough. So I take on even more.

Moving to New York City probably didn’t help my need to be constantly "making moves," either. For many of us in the city, if you don’t have 101 things going on, you feel like a failure. What would it look like, though, if I gave myself permission to get off the hamster wheel and take a break?

I encourage you to give yourself permission to jump off the hamster wheel every now and then in order to preserve YOU. (I am saying this to myself, too, here!) Let’s say you finally get your corner office, but now you have health issues because you didn’t listen to your body? What if you'd rather be at home with your child and that means you have to decline that promotion? Give yourself permission to make decisions based on how to best preserve your sanity.

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Here are three ways to help you press pause on the wheel at least once a week.

1) Find out what’s important to you. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else thinks you should be doing with your life, or in everyone else's fabulous lives on social media. Listen, honey, this is your life. Don’t be pressured to live like the rich and famous, unless that's important to you. Similarly, just because everyone else is starting a business, doesn’t mean you have to. Make an inventory of the top five important priorities in your life and go from there.

2) Accept that not everything will get done. If you’re lucky, you might receive eight hours of sleep, but the rest of the day will likely be packed. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get everything done on your to-do list. You are one person, and part of self-preservation is being forgiving and protecting your time.

3) Develop rituals within your day. Just like on any treadmill, life should have a pause or stop button. If you start to feel burnt out, take five minutes a few times a day to do something that makes you smile. It might be reading, prayer, or a short walk in the park. Find some practical rituals that you can implement throughout your day to slow the wheel down.

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Being a modern woman isn’t about being able to "do it all." Being a modern woman means affirming yourself, forgiving yourself, and pacing yourself. I understand you want to get everything done in your day, but try and prioritize the stuff that brings you happiness and sanity. You only get one you!

If you’re in the NYC-area on 6/15, Join us as we partner with Werk and learn how you can negotiate for flexibility. Part of getting off the hamster wheel is aligning your work with your priorities. Register here.