“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
These are the words of singer Dolly Parton. She’s has countless chart-topping hits, but this may be her best work yet, even though it’s not part of a #1 song.
Everyone knows the feeling when work demands pile up so quickly and so high that they drown out the rest of your life, like a balance-sucking tsunami. At times like that, you may feel stress, discontent, panic, burnout, or a combination of all the above.
To stop the rolling wave before it spirals out of control and sweeps you under, follow a few basic steps to maintain work/life balance. It’s an ongoing process, as your interests, circumstances and priorities shift – so stay with it, and even try to relax and make it fun.
“The key is not in spending time, but in investing in it.”
Dolly may never said this, but when author Stephen R. Covey penned these words, he was thinking along the same thoughtful line. Perhaps both Dolly and Stephen knew the value of:
Learning to Say No
Let’s start with one of hardest soft skills for many professionals to master. Fortunately, there are tools such as the Eisenhower Matrix that you can use to help you accurately assess your day’s demands and learn to prioritize and articulate them.
Even 30-second mini-breaks can help you improve concentration, reduce stress, and feel more engaged in your work. But don’t cheat yourself of longer ones, either. Experts recommend taking a break every 75 to 90 minutes for 15 minutes.
Asking for Flexibility
If you feel too restricted or off balance due to a rigid work schedule, have an honest conversation with your boss about it. Discuss options that may work for you, such as flextime, a compressed workweek or job sharing.
Prioritizing Personal Health
It’s important to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone or anything else. It’s like the oxygen mask on the plane: put yours on first, or you’ll be useless in helping your fellow passengers. This applies directly to your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and wellness. Don’t skip your check-up or screening because of a last-minute meeting or pressing deadline. The same goes for your yoga class, daily meditation or journaling, church service or social connection.
Asking for Help
Whether it’s at work or at home, don’t feel like you have to take on everything all by yourself. Just as you find fulfillment in helping others, think of it as giving your colleagues and family members a similar opportunity. The best relationships are based on mutual support.
As you grow your career – and keep this growth in balance with your personal well-being – a professional coach can be an invaluable asset. Consider partnering with an expert from Pridestaff Modesto so that, in the words of one more expert, former First Lady Michelle Obama, you can “do a better job of putting (yourself) higher on (your) own to-do list.”