The Importance of Maintenance

We have cars, and if we're smart we take them in every three to five thousand miles to have them looked at.  If we're not that mindful that our cars need a regular checkup, it isn't going to be there when we need it. Our bodies need this kind of regular checkup as well.  I'm not talking about the visit to the doctor here (although it's a good idea especially at my age to get looked at annually) but with all the projects and things that we have to do every day, you need to have a maintenance day every now and then in order to get the batteries recharged.  Ideally, you should have one day a week where nothing needs to be done, so you can spend time relaxing, reading, playing with the kids or the cats, whatever calms you.

Also, if you work a day job like I do, it's a good idea to schedule in three or four day weekends periodically to have a couple of extra 'mental health' days already embedded in your schedule.  These days are for you and you only.  I schedule 5 three day weekends during the course of a year, because I know my body and mind pretty well at this point, and after working jobs where there was no time off allowed at all, I know what burnout feels like.

So, what happens if you don't take this time?  Well, just like your car, you're weighing the minimal outlay of regular maintenance now, versus a major outlay for repair later.  I know this all too well.  In the 90s at the bank, there was a point in time where my immediate superior was gone for surgery.  Because we were a department of two, I did her job as well.  In addition to that, I was doing the work of a VP who outsourced his job to me, for lack of a better term.  As a guy in my late 20s, I wanted to impress, so I pushed ahead.  As a salaried employee, I ended up working 60-80 hours a week doing the work of three people.  I slept three to four hours a night, and I did this for almost a year before pretty much everything that I was at that time broke.

It was only then that--from my bed at home--I asked for help.  None was given.  I handed in my resignation and started looking for work after about three days of sleep. I was employed on the fourth day, and started at my new job one week later.  I took that time to recharge the batteries, and boy did they need it!

Since then, I've been adamant about the need to take the time before my body tells me in no uncertain terms 'You are about to break'. To me this is non-negotiable, and any employer that values their employees beyond a commodity to be managed should recognize the value in a happy and healthy employee.

The question is whether or not you recognize the value in a happy and healthy you.  I hope you do.  Pay now, or pay BIG later.