No matter what your job, you likely have pressures on you every day. Left unattended they can mount causing you to be less effective, and more importantly less satisfied and happy, and in the end more likely to deteriorate prematurely into ill health. Here are some suggestions to shake things up for the better.
1. Don’t take your work home. At least, either cut the amount you do take in half or block out evenings where you don’t take any work home. Whether you live alone or with loved ones, you need to recharge your batteries. And if you do live with others, imagine how they must feel when you don’t choose to spend quality time with them?
2. Do take your vacation. Take it in big enough chunks that you can get away for at least four days at a time. A change of scenery, people, or activities is needed if you want to recycle your batteries.
3. Turn off your cell phone and computer for a few hours a day. There are times to be available and responsive, and time to not be. In the past, we were never so available to everyone, but now it seems a given that everyone is constantly on-call. Resist that urge.
4. Escape for one hour a day. Read, meditate, exercise, listen to music, journal, whatever, but change your activity. Turn off the television and computer. When we open ourselves up to other activities apart from our work, it enriches our creativity. An easy way to do this is to awaken an hour earlier.
5. Acquire and pursue a new hobby or skill. Something like learning or enhancing your cooking, dancing, tennis, art, music, golf, tennis, history knowledge, etc. can provide a new spark to your routine. Maybe you want to get involved volunteering to help others, but there are endless opportunities for you to branch out.
6. Settle for less. Bigger promotions, bigger income, new toys, more houses, and the like all come with hidden costs and responsibilities. Yes, they may feed our ego and signal to the world that we are worthy and have succeeded, but they also drag you down with attention to keep and maintain them. You always have a choice in accepting “more,” but often the more sage and liberating decision is to accept less.
7. Delegate more. The ancillary benefit to this is that you build and develop others. While this may suggest that you are less important, a team builder is nearly always more valuable to an organization than a subject matter expert or one who hoards power and information; and every genuine leader knows and practices this.
8. Hire people to help and complement you. Whether it means paying someone to do your taxes or clean your house, or help you in your business, will you doing certain tasks be the best and highest use of your time? If not, outsource it.
9. Limit your business travel. Business travel can eat up enormous chunks of your time and it takes a toll on your health too. Today, there are so many technological means of meeting that you should save your face-to-face meetings for only the most valuable and strategic causes.
10. Begin a good new habit or ritual. How about a “date night” with your spouse or a dedicated one-on-one time with your children? And don’t obsess about ridding yourself of bad habits, but simply instead choose something that might be better and make that your new habit.
11. Find a retreat. A retreat can be a place within your house or a getaway home, but it is free of interruption. It can be a backyard, a lake, forest, the mountains, a church, a room, or the beach. Of course, visit this retreat with your loved ones or by yourself though you don’t want to use it to become anti-social. The main thing is that it becomes a sanctuary free from the noise and distraction of everyday life that can be that one-hour getaway or much longer.
12. Ask you loved ones for feedback. Tell your partner or children about your desire to introduce better health and time balance into your life. Get their ideas about what you might do to more physically and emotionally available. Ask them for their opinions and support. Genuinely listen to and consider their responses, even if it hurts. Enlist their help.
By having balance between our personal and work life, we become more effective in each. And at the end of your life, you won’t be lamenting that you didn’t work long or hard enough; rather it may be that you didn’t balance your life, recycle yourself, and enjoy you relationships as well as you could have. Have fun with this!
Bob Fagan is a management consultant and coach and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.