Another thing you learn is how to be just a little bit lazy.
This concept has gotten mixed reactions in my friend group. When you read that sentence, your knee-jerk reaction was, I'm certain, negative to some degree. And I want you to hold onto that feeling, to think on it, as I explain.
Let's look at that trigger word: lazy. Dictionary.com gives the definition of lazy as to be "averse or disinclined to work." When we think on that, we all have a picture or two in our mind, and being from Appalachia, there is a particular stereotype that I can clearly envision: the hillbilly leaning up against a tree, stem of grass in his teeth, hat pulled over his eyes, sleeping. Inherent in this concept of lazy is a desire to not work. That's the thing I want you to focus on.
Now I want to point out that I'm not saying a person should be lazy. Laziness is not a great attribute. Sloth is not what you want in an employee.
But what you do want is somebody who wants to do something besides work.
That's what I mean by "just a little bit lazy." The best employee wants to go home and do anything but work. Maybe it's watch television. Or visit the gym. Play video games. Hang out with friends. And they want to do those things so badly that they will do their work more efficiently as a result.
If you look at your own life, maybe you can recognize this in yourself. You make plans to go out that night; perhaps your child has an event at school, or your partner wants to get dinner, or your favorite show is on, etc. That desire to do something else, something other than work, drives you to get your work done, or even turn down work because you just can't do all that work AND go see a movie.
This is what work-life balance is about. The life part of that equation is when we are allowed to be sloths. Or not. And it's nobody's business what we do.
So seek out those opportunities in your life. Find that bookend to your work day and give yourself permission to not work. To be just a little lazy. To focus on you rather than your job. If you're addicted to work, you'll find this isn't easy to do. You'll find that you're working just to work. And that's fine, as long as you truly find happiness in that.
But ask yourself that question: does work make you happy, or does work provide you the ability to do those things that make you happy? Or is it (ideally, perhaps) a little of both? A good example of this is Japanese are notorious for their work ethic. There is an addiction to work in Japanese society that literally kills people every year. And it's an addiction to work, not an addiction to life. Not an addiction to productivity. Or happiness. But work. That's changing, slowly, because despite that culture of working until you drop, the recession has maintained it's festering stagnation.
Find your lazy and you'll find yourself more efficient, harder working, and a better employee to your company and partner to your life.