I recently heard a terrific story from a good friend about his final interview with his current supervisor. Toward the end of the interview, the manager looked at my friend and asked him: “What will getting this job will do for you?” My friend, following interview protocol, answered the question in a fairly generic way; “getting this job will help me expand my product knowledge, gain experience, etc. etc.
As my friend tells me, the manager nodded politely, then sat forward in his chair and said: “Sorry, I think I phrased the question wrong… what will the income that you earn from this job help you do outside of work?” My friend’s manager was trying to teach a very positive and valuable lesson: hard work is only worth it if you also allow yourself to enjoy the payoff.
For busy professionals and particularly those who are self-employed, balancing work and life can seem like an impossible task. If you are invested in the success of your business, you most likely work long hours, are glued to your email and cell phone, and have a tough time saying no to opportunities. The problem is, what is the point of all your hard work if you never allow yourself time to enjoy the fruits of your labor?
We all have people and things that are priorities outside of our career; here are some tips to improve your work, life balance in the coming year:
Create a defined schedule
As simple as it sounds, establishing a weekly work schedule can help you better balance your time between home and the workplace. Identify a healthy number of hours per day and week in which you can be productive, and challenge yourself to operate within that schedule. Things come up, but if you get yourself in the habit of keeping set office hours, it will be easier for you to feel “done for the day” when you pack up and go home.
Set a curfew for your devices
In 2019, we are all owned by technology to some extent. For a busy professional or a business owner, this marriage to technology can spill over into your personal life if you allow it to do so. While it’s important to make yourself available to clients, colleagues and employees, at a certain point you must allow time for both yourself and your devices to shut down and recharge your batteries. A great way to ensure this happens is to set a firm cut-off time at which you power down your technology and don’t turn it back on until morning. This will help you get out of “work-mode” so that you can enjoy some down time before you hit the ground running the next day.
Cell phones, two are better than one
Speaking of devices, if you are self-employed, a good tax-deductible investment is adding a second line to your cell phone plan. For those professionals who have employers, if your tech time tends to stretch beyond normal work hours, it might be time to ask your bosses for a company line. Regardless, keeping your work line separate from your personal line takes away the anxiety of your phone ringing and not knowing if it’s business-related or personal.
Work is very important. That having been said, enjoying an equal, balanced work and home life is imperative. Taking a little time off to recharge and enjoy the things you love is the healthiest choice you can make.