"you cooking?"  in my head, i'm like... cooking for what?  then a follow up text... "or you going over the family's house for the holiday?"  oh shit, it is memorial day isn't it?!  completely forgot.  i look at my calendar. clients.  all day. 9, 11, 330, 530, 8.  on memorial day.  that's my life.  and i love it.  i live for it.  i feel freed by it.

i sat across the table... i hadn't looked up once in about 3 minutes.  i'm not sure if you know how long 3 minutes is, but it feels like forever when it's in silence.  i looked up to find him looking at me.  "everything ok?"  it kind of made me chuckle.  that was the nice way of saying, "get off your phone."  it wasn't until that moment that i realized, as much as i can't stand them, i'm a "workaholic" too.  now some who know me well would argue this point.  workaholic?!  jo is lazy as hell.  this chic would stay in the bed all day if you let her.  true.  very true.  but the flip is, i love being busy.  i love having a full calendar and lots of projects.  it keeps my blood flowing.  it makes me happy.  i feel like i'm moving in a direction towards something when i'm busy.  to me, too much down time feels stagnant.  that's scary for me.  in making this observation about myself, i came to the conclusion, that it's not all bad.  more than anything, it's about balance.  

in this age of technology, we often find ourselves glued to our devices.   the problem gets exaggerated when your job isn't one that is confined to an office building.  the constant barrage of emails and text messages will easily make someone feel as though they have to answer them at the speed at which they're received.  this forces us to respond to every vibration or alert as though it's the most important thing in the world.  we've programmed ourselves to believe that if we don't respond immediately, the world will come tumbling down.  fact check... it wont.  waiting an hour to respond to an email because you're at dinner with your friend, spending time with your kid, or taking some much needed time for yourself, will make you no less amazing at what you do.  i promise!  often, being able to be present in the moment, allows all those who interact with you to feel as important as anything else you are devoted to.

there's a rule of thumb for me in these types of situations... "not all things float".  a lot of times, we make plans with friends or family, that we cancel because work comes up.  by using my rule, once i lock something in the calendar, it is no longer "floating" and able to be rescheduled or pushed off to another day.  sometimes we have to tell the client "not today", in order to be as effective in our personal relationships as we are in our business ones.  one thing that an elder told me is, when we look back over our lives we don't say, "i wish i worked more."  our wishes or regrets are often attached to relationships and how we've neglected them.  whether it's reconnecting with a dear friend, holding a grudge with a family member, or being present for various events or gatherings.  my approach is to seek balance in these areas.  a successful career, thriving interpersonal relationships, and peace within myself.  this takes planning, on all fronts, but the outcome yields fruitful dividends.  

there's absolutely nothing wrong with loving what you do, and being a workaholic when it comes to the pursuit of your greatness.  but find time to round yourself out.  carve out time for the people who love and care about you, and then be present with them in that time.  turn your ringtone off, and only check your phone if they go to the bathroom or it rings back to back from the same person.  set some ground rules.  stick to them.  be fair.  even if it means a little compromise on your end.  the reality is, whoever you're compromising for, is likely compromising a great deal more out of their love for you.  make it worth it.