Do you ever feel like your job is eating away at your life? As if doing well at the office robs you of the ability to enjoy the world outside of work – because it just takes up too much time and/or energy? If you’re in this state, you’re most likely already thinking about how to achieve a work/life balance… and you’re not alone.
Surveys show that flexible schedules are the benefit employees value most these days. And it’s no wonder. In this information age, where anyone can be accessible at the drop of a dime via the internet, a blackberry or a cell phone, most of us take work on the road – even on vacations. And in turn, we never get the recovery time we need, never mind the time with our families and friends (or ourselves)! But if you’re willing to shift things up a bit you can make your work “work” for you. This way, your overall quality of life improves substantially. There are several options that depend upon your particular situation, but here are some tips for achieving a better balance and attaining a better life!
Make technology work for you!
According to statistics, more and more companies are recognizing that a “family friendly” environment increases morale. In other words, as long as the job gets done well and you continue to go above and beyond the call, they don’t necessarily expect you to “punch a clock.” How does this translate? It means that you may have options to shift your schedule to a more flexible one – or perhaps telecommute on occasion if you’ve got the home set up for it. After all, the options provided by modern technology don’t just have to mean you spend more time working; they can actually work to your advantage!
Research their policies, and if your company is responsive (or you have reason to think they might be in your case), consider if you might be less stressed and more productive (whether in quantity or quality) and propose a change of schedule. One warning: don’t mistake this for meaning your work load will lessen. If anything, you’ll have to be more organized to accomplish what you would normally in less time. But, the perks of being able to run errands, pick up the kids from school, and make your own schedule might just be worth it – particularly for the stressed out parent. Naturally, this all assumes you’re actually happy with your job. If you’re not, think about tip two:
Consider a career shift
Now this sounds hard – particularly if you’ve spent time building your career and put your heart, soul and time into getting where you are. But the simple truth is, if you’re overly stressed out (signs of this include having trouble getting up in the morning, digestive issues, aches and pains and general malaise, especially as it pertains to work), and there’s no way for you to make it work at work, then perhaps you’re in the wrong field – or at least the wrong position. Consider that you do create your own reality, and if you’re willing to put in the time researching and take whatever steps are necessary, you can make a career shift. Whether it’s within your current company (to a less stressful or alternative position) or something completely different is up to you. But we live in a modern age with modern allowances and if you’re willing to accept the trade off of a potentially lower salary for more freedom and flexibility, there should be nothing stopping you from finding a way to enjoy your day to day a whole lot more than you’re enjoying it right now.
Stay put but streamline
If none of these seem right and you’d be okay with where you are if you could only ease some stress, you may just need an overhaul. Consider simplifying. First, take whatever time it takes to get organized. An organized office where you can access whatever you need easily will do wonders for your day to day. Likewise, if you’re a manager, assess what you’re delegating and make sure you’re not taking on too much yourself. After all, there’s only so much you can do in a day. Perhaps most importantly, learn to be a team player. So often, stress comes from trying to do to much on your own. But if you keep your entire team advised of your goals and are aware of theirs, you’ll find that you feel much more in synch each day at the office. And thereby, much less harried.
Whatever the situation, you can make your job work for you. Step back, take a breath and meditate on how you’d like your life to be. Then take it from there.
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