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 #5: Talk to Your Boss
If you have a strong relationship with your boss, it's worth a serious conversation to scale back your hours or your time commitment. Start by saying, "I want to do a good job. The stress of no life is making it hard for me to function well." Unless your boss is an ogre, you should have room to negotiate. If your boss is an ogre, it's time for a new boss. Transfer to a new group, transfer to a new company, or replace your boss with an identical-looking robot that obeys your every command.
Tip #6: Schedule Your Personal Life First
My favorite do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do technique is to schedule your personal life before scheduling work. Then ask how you can meet your work goals in the leftover time in your schedule. "I plan to have dinner at 6:30pm every night with my husband, wife, spousal equivalent, children, or polyamorous family units. How can I still get my work done?" You might have ideas like working a half day at the office and a half day from home later in the evening. I used to carpool to work. I would say "I must leave at 5 pm to catch my carpool." No one ever complained. We just got stuff done by 5pm. The carpool schedule limited the workday, not the other way around.
Tip #7: Reconsider That Commute
Think about this: Your 30-minute commute is taking up 6 work-weeks of time each year. That's a month and a half! And it's coming out of your personal time, not your work time. Move closer, work from home, or find a way to do something useful as you drive, such as have your cell phone read your work email to you. I hear they do that these days. Or listen to informative, helpful podcasts (ahem!). Or find radio stations and/or CDs that offer educational programs which might actually help you in your work.
It's scary and hard to reclaim our lives from overwork. But the only one who can do it is you. Decide how much time you'll work and draw the line, firmly. Talk to your boss, schedule your personal life first, get real about your fears, and judge your performance based on results—true productivity—not hours.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
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