Maintaining Work-Life Balance

September 25th, 2015

Sometimes the pressure to maintain your performance at work can interfere with other aspects of life, including health, relationships, and the general quality of your days and years. If you understand what this feels like, there’s a strong chance you also understand the temptation to pull resources away from these other aspects and invest those resources in fully into your job. After all, our families aren’t going anywhere, but if we give less than our best at work, there’s a chance our jobs will disappear. Before you start burning your candle down the nub and letting your job consume a disproportionate and unhealthy share of your attention, keep these tips in mind.

Stay in the Present

Tackle one problem at a time, one issue at time, and one task at a time. As you listen to your friend, help your spouse solve a problem, or treat your child’s banged up knee, don’t simultaneously worry about the report that’s coming due at work. There’s nothing you can do about that report right now. When you carry a five minute problem away with you, it becomes ten minute problem, and then a three hour problem. The same applies to a five minute task. When you aren’t working on it, put it down.

Take your Vacation Time

You own your allotted vacation and break time for a reason: because many workers who came before you fought hard to earn this right. They did so because these employees understood the steep toll that relentless work can take on the body and the mind. Learn from their experiences, and make the most of what they struggled to secure for you. Don’t give it up.

Say No when You Mean No

If you know that you don’t have the bandwidth or resources to handle a certain task or assignment, say so upfront. Don’t cheerfully accept the task if you won’t be able to deliver without paying a price you can’t afford. Be honest. Describe the forms of support, time, and training you’ll need to complete the task adequately, and if you don’t realistically expect to finish the job within standard work hours, don’t make promises you can’t keep. It’s your boss’s job to provide the staff, money, and time you need in order to succeed without compromising your non-work time or your mental health. It’s your job to make these needs known.

Plan Ahead

Before you step into your car each day, make sure you have everything you’ll need to make it through your various appointments and obligations. Make the most of the list and calendar features on your mobile device, and if you rely on a network of other people (include your spouse, your colleagues, or your family members), stay in touch and don’t hesitate to ask for help and updates.

For more on how to survive the most productive years of your life– and even enjoy them—without losing your mind, reach out to the staffing and career management team at PSU.

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