It’s easy for our lives to become overwhelmed by work. Finding that perfect balance is a challenge for all of us. Follow these tips to tip the scale in your favor.
Tip #2: Choose Your Risk Level
You're probably already scared. "What if I have to work late some evening?" you ask, breaking out into a sweat. Well, the answer is that you don't, unless it's super-duper-important. And if you do, you skip out of work early later in the week or month to make up for those hours. Most businesses don't give you extra money without expecting extra work or extra quality, there's no reason the standards for yourself should be lower.
"But I'll get fired!" you cry. Or, "The company will always favor someone who sacrifices their personal life." Maybe…
Tip #3: Face the Reality, Not Your Fears
Those fears could be true. In that case, you have a choice to make: What's more important, your job or your life? Whenever I ask this, people look at me like I'm crazy. They think the answer is obvious. In America, the obvious answer is "your job." In other countries (where they have siestas), the obvious answer is "your life." The answer, my friend, is not obvious at all.
Before you indulge your fear, though, look for evidence. In most workplaces, it's hard enough to find an example of someone fired for any reason. People who put in a solid 8 hours but refuse to work weekends probably don't get fired. They get laid off, of course, but so do all high-performers, to pay for the executive bonus pool. But fired for anything related to job performance? Not likely. Chances are your fears have no basis in fact.
Tip #4: Less is Really More
Working your crazy hours probably isn't productive. Work more, sacrifice your life, and you get stressed. If your job demands creativity and problem-solving, you'll tank your work quality by working 24/7. If your job is people interaction, you'll bite the heads off customers. And if your job involves physical labor, like cleaning the store when you close at night, you'll be sloppy and physically weaker. You might even slip a disk as you bend down to pick up the remains of a decapitated customer.
I wrote an entire article on the myth of working long hours. The stress of long hours reduces productivity enough to cancel any benefit of the extra hours. You do best by working fewer, higher-quality hours.