This week on the Accolo blog, we’ve been talking a lot about the importance of maintaining a good work/life balance for working successfully in the long term. Though it might make you feel superhuman to do superhuman amounts of work for your employer, this approach to work can’t last for too long. Everyone has their limits and, if you simply ignore your stress instead of decompressing, it’s highly likely that you’ll burn out from the blistering pace that you’ve set for yourself. Yes, it’s a lot easier to know when you’ve been successful at work than when you’ve been successful as a parent or when you’ve painted a successful picture, but that doesn’t mean these personal goals aren’t worth pursuing.
As important as work is, it isn’t worth sacrificing your relationships with friends and family or giving up on your favorite hobby. In order to enjoy a life that’s as rewarding at home as it is in the office, you need to strike a balance between your career and your personal life.
One of the points that I’ve been stressing this week is the importance of time management. If you find yourself overwhelmed or impossibly busy in the office, keep track of where your precious hours are going. How much time do you spend on each task throughout the day? How much time do you spend on silliness like gossiping with co-workers or browsing Facebook? By mapping out the way that you spend your working day, you can see which tasks are taking an inordinate amount of time and which time wasters are taking the biggest toll on your productivity.
Once you’ve identified the things in your working day that have been slowing you down or even forcing you to finish up work at home or on the weekend, try to address these problems. Would a new version of a program that you work with save you hours per-week? Have you been taking on tasks for 2 or 3 people by yourself? Do you just need a bit less on your plate in general? As long as you keep your stress to yourself, nobody can help you out. If you need more resources to do your job effectively or just need a little breathing room, talk to your supervisor. Your supervisor is the person with both the most influence over and the most familiarity with your workload. Until you tell them otherwise, they might just keep on thinking that you’re fine with your workload. Though it can feel like throwing in the towel, talking to your supervisor about the pressures of work can help you on the way to a better work/life balance.