Obviously you don’t need me to tell you that life here in the second decade of the 21st century is somewhat more… hectic… than it was back in the good old days. The advances of the Information Age were supposed to usher in a Jetsons-like life of leisure, with machines doing all the work while we sat back and sipped our cool drinks. Well, needless to say, that isn’t the way it went down.
Faster processes demand quicker reactions, and we are continually trying to pack more activities into the same time frame. Now, factor in a weak economy and you have a world in which you have to work longer, harder and more imaginatively just to break even—while giving short shrift to our personal lives. This imbalance can tip over even the strongest amongst us. What we need is to get our work vs. life scales back on an even keel by focusing on the harmony and equality of these 3 areas:
Stress Your Playful Side
You know the saying: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Well, that was bad enough back in the pre-computer age, but now it is just as likely that all work and no play can ruin your health or even kill you. Study after study proves that constant overwork creates abnormal levels of stress—which can lead to heart problems, strokes, diabetes, mental problems and other sorts of depressing options.
Put Yourself in a Better Position
If you work at a desk, or stand in one position for long periods, your muscles and joints are eventually going to cramp or otherwise rebel. Typing and other repeated actions can lead to repetitive motion disorders (RMDs), such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Work positions are not normal positions—they eventually take their toll on your body, especially if you maintain them for hours at a time. RMDs affect not only your ability to work, but to enjoy life. Frequent position changes, stretching and walking are all great ways to keep your physical self in balance, both on and off the job. I usually stretch out for a couple of minutes every two hours or so. I also like to walk around my office when I’m on the phone with someone.
Shed the Guilt
One of the most common traits of a budding or confirmed workaholic is when you suffer a tinge (or a wave) of guilt whenever you are not working—feeling that enjoying yourself is not a worthy pursuit, or that you are just too busy. If you don’t overcome this, you may never find yourself able to achieve a work/life balance. As with most forms of needless guilt, you impose it on yourself, but you must pay attention to its potentially harmful hold on you. The actual guilt of loss of affection or family is much greater than taking some time off to nurture relationships.
Keep Work in its Place
I have to admit that it is hard for me to disconnect from the multiple projects I’m working on but I know I have to do it in order to keep a healthy state of mind. Every brain needs a break from work. Making regular time for your family, friends, a hobby, or even a good book does much more than let you breathe a little easier—it reduces stress, refreshes you physically and mentally, and reminds you that work is not the be-all and end-all of life. Time off from the job also allows your mind to recuperate from work-related pressures and demands, thus improving your performance when you get back to business. Just as your body needs continual “fuel” to survive, so goes your mind.
Keep Things in Perspective
It is a truism that no one says near the end of his or her earthly life, “I wish I had spent more time on my job.” Work comes and goes, but once the people you love are gone, they are gone for good. I’m thankful to have a wife that has supported me along the way and two beautiful children that go to bed early…LOL! They know Daddy does some work before he goes to bed. My wife and I agreed to take the Entrepreneurship journey together. Without my wife’s support and clear understanding of what we were getting ourselves into, things would have turned out very bad. If you toil to the exclusion of the people you love, and the pastimes that you enjoy, you will never be satisfied either on the job or away from it. Achieving a balance means nothing more, or less, than keeping all facets of your life in the proper proportions, giving each its due while neglecting none. It is not an easy goal to achieve, but it is definitely worth the effort.
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