This is a guest post from Steve Johnson. You can read his previous guest post for my blog here.
Is Your Work Life Out of Balance?
There can be no question that the workplace admires and looks up to those who work harder. However, there is such a thing as working too hard (and doing so intentionally). A workaholic would be someone who had taken their level of work to a point where it was actually unhealthy and damaging to other aspects of their life. If you are concerned that you might be doing just that then you might want to examine your day-to-day life and see which aspects of your workday are creating imbalance.
A professional had this to say about the matter:
Many of us believe that the best way to get more work done is to work more hours. But the reality is that we’re more productive when we build in intermittent periods of renewal during our day.
-Stephanie Marston, a motivational speaker, best-selling author and a stress and resiliency expert.
How to Tell if Your Work Life is Out of Balance: Signs and Symptoms
There is such a fine line between working hard and being industrious that it can be tricky to expertly mark out exactly when one has taken their work life over the limit. Listed below are a couple signs that you can watch out for. If you see yourself doing several of the following then it’s time to reconsider your day-to-day schedule and just how you prioritize and balance work against the rest of your life:
1. You keep putting yourself in a position where you are “overbooked.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a normal, average work week contains forty work hours. There’s nothing wrong with doing more than that from time to time, but working excessively high hours week after week showcases that your work life is out of balance.
2. You’ve gotten out of shape.
No job should make a person unhealthy. If you’ve noticed bad eating habits, excessive time sitting at the desk, not enough time devoted to exercise, not enough breaks being taken, then work has likely become too high of a priority for you.
3. You’re bent on perfection.
Your work life might be out of balance if you are constantly nervous, anxious, or worrying about attaining perfection. You will actually have a higher likelihood of missing your target or flubbing a project if you are too nervous or anxious about it.
4. You simply work too much.
Some who prioritize work over other life activities do so by simply working too many hours a week. The real key is to make one’s targets and achieve good production in less hours, not just work more hours. According to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released last year, more than 25 million Americans — 20.5 percent of the total workforce — reported they worked at least 49 hours a week in 1999. Eleven million of those said they worked more than 59 hours a week. This tendency to work too much is especially prevalent in the U.S.
5. You’re working around the clock.
Leave work at work. If you’re bringing your work home with you then that’s a clear sign that work has overtaken the rest of your life. When you’re home it’s time to concentrate on other activities. When you’re at work then you can concentrate on work with zeal and passion. In order to get through your daily tasks more quickly, seek help from your coworkers. Perhaps you can team up to tackle projects together. That way you can all achieve goals faster, share the responsibility, and engage in rewarding teamwork. You might also find that a coworker has some free time at work and would welcome another easy task or two. When you all work together, you can leave the office feeling good about what you’ve accomplished.
6. You do not have a social life.
People who work too much also tend to distance themselves from those who they care about the most. Work becomes such an important part of their life that they sacrifice other things that are important so they can work more. If this is occurring for you then this is a sure sign that work has begun to take too high a priority in your life.
There is no doubt that working hard, being productive, and achieving your goals and targets are all good ambitions. However, there are extremes to this as there is with anything else. If you think work has taken over your life, then it is time to double back and reassess your priorities.
This is not a difficult thing to do. All you needs to do is re-organize how you spend your time. When work is taking over simply spend less time working. Say “No” more often. Don’t spend as much time at the workplace. Don’t take your work home with you. Spend more time with friends, family members, and loved ones. Spend more time on your hobbies. Get more exercise. Create more hobbies. Get out and about in the city or countryside for some rest and relaxation. With a healthier and happier heart and mind you will find that you can achieve everything you want to achieve at work without having to go over the top with it.