Lately I’ve been working a lot on a new and exciting project that I am going to tell you about really soon (actually this project is for you and I hope you will enjoy it, but I am going to keep it a secret for right now, shhh!) This project made me think once again about work/life balance and how important it is to maintain it. I must confess that I started losing that balance and I had to take emergency measures to get back on track.
The biggest problem that most people have with work/life balance is that they are unwilling to change the “work” part of the balance and they try to adjust the “life” part accordingly. Of course, considering that many people have to work 40 hours or more a week, it does not leave much time for the “life” component unfortunately.
I think that today the fear of losing a job has reached its peak for obvious reasons and many people work much harder just to secure their job position (who could blame them for that?) It is a difficult situation to find balance in; however I want to show you 5 excuses that many people use for working too much. These excuses can sabotage your work/life balance and even your job situation.
“I want to be sure that I keep my job.”
It is a good idea to be a great employee however sometimes it is not enough to keep your job. Most companies today are getting rid of their employees not because of their skills or laziness but because they are downsizing. One day, your department is important, next day – it is gone.
Be reasonable about how much effort you put in your work. Do what you have to, use your potential but do not count that it will give your job a 100% security. What you can do: Create a back-up plan. Many people are taken by surprise when they are laid off. “What am I going to do?” “Why did it happen to me?”
“Nobody else can do my job.”
The idea of being indispensable can sound really flattering but the truth is that there are no indispensable employees.
If you have little kids you know that most of them have a “security blanket” that calms them down when they are upset or frustrated. In the adult world a job can take the place of a security blanket. It is a secure place where you know everything. You feel successful while you are at work; you know how to do the right thing. You have a clear goal and you know the steps that you need to take to get there. But so do many other people who are willing to work for a lot less than you do. Just keep that in mind at all times.
What you can do: Ask yourself the following questions:
Do I spend so much time at work because other aspects of my life are not doing too well?
Am I trying to satisfy my ambitions at the expense of my family (partner)?
Do I work too much because it makes me feel “in control”?
Sometimes work can be a way to satisfy the hunger of your ego. If you give in to that hunger then it will consume your life. Make sure that there is something more important than work in your life.
“I need to work more to make what I did last year” or “I need to work more to keep my status.”
Money, of course, is the main reason why most of us go to work. Making money is great and I am not going to tell you that money will not buy you happiness (that is something that you should figure out on your own.)
Many of us have downsized or are taking lower-paying jobs because that is all that is available. Some are looking for second jobs to maintain their income. (I understand that life situations are different, so I am not talking here about people who have to work 70 hours a week to pay their bills and buy groceries. I am very sympathetic with the people who are stuck in this horrible situation.)
A lot of us though are used to a certain manner of living. Eating out a few times a month, shopping sprees, have the best TV cable package available, best electronics etc. (I know that spending is a very sensitive subject and I do not want to offend anybody here, I am just giving examples.) How about shifting your priorities instead of chasing a certain dollar amount in your bank account? What you can do: If you feel that your wallet cannot keep up with your lifestyle try to change your focus from “material” to “spiritual.”
You can spend time with your loved ones at the park or at home and you do not have to go to the expensive restaurant.
You can ditch your gym membership and finally commit to running and exercising at home.
You can stop paying for cable TV and add at least 2 wonderful hours a day or more to your life.
You can spend more time reading books you have never had time to read instead of shopping or surfing the web.
Do not buy a new car ever if you want to save money. Cars do nothing but depreciate in value especially new ones. You will end up saving much more by buying a used car instead and get the same thrill of having a new car. (It’s still new to you right?)
Put more meaning into your life and you will not be tied to money as much.
“I have a very demanding job.”
A demanding job can be an excuse for people who cannot say “no.”
Did you ever catch yourself saying “yes” to every job related request?
Your colleague asks you if you can help her finish her report and you say “yes” (because you want to help her.)
Your boss asks you for a personal favor and you say “yes.”
Everybody leaves early but you always agree to stay late and make sure that everything is in order.
Due to the fear of rejection or conflict some people just cannot say “no” at all. This type of behavior at work can put you in a horrible situation and of course it is destructive to your overall life balance. What you can do: Practice saying “no” in situations that do not seem frightening (start off at work.)
Give yourself time to think about the opportunity. When someone at work asks you to do something tell them “Give me a few minutes to think it over.” Weigh the yes-to-stress ratio. Will this opportunity strengthen your position at work? Will it bring you any benefit? Make a decision based on facts, not on your fear of saying “no.”
“I just love my job!”
Loving your job is great but do not let that love grow into an obsession. It gets especially difficult for those people who can work from home as they can devote as much time as they possibly can to work (basically they wake up with thoughts about their work, they work during the day, they think about it before bed and they dream about it while asleep.) It is simply not healthy.
While you might be in a very serious relationship with your work you must understand that you need some time away from it. It will do you only good. What you can do: Are there any things that you love more than your work?
If your answer is “no” then your desperately need to expand your horizons. Learn something new, spend more time with your family, pay more attention to your health, or embark on a spiritual journey.
Do not let your work take over your life because there is more to life than just work.
When you think that work is taking over your life remember this saying:
We do what we have to do in order to do what we want to do.
What is your work/life ratio? Share your tips or ask me a question. If you liked this article or you know a person who will benefit from it, please use the fancy buttons below to share it with the world.