A New Year is an opportunity to bring better balance to our work life.
At the New Year, we all tend to fall into one of two camps.
Camp one is the “New Year’s resolution camp”. It is full of spoken hope, a public sharing of aspirations for the year ahead, and promises and written goals that will serve as guiding principles for all that we should have been done better last year.
Camp two is the “I don’t do resolutions camp”. This is similar (exactly the same, in fact) to camp one, but it is done secretly and silently inside our heads. It is the self-righteous sibling to camp one. Camp one members may judge themselves for requiring something as fleeting and shallow as resolutions to motivate and navigate their career paths. Camp two may falsely celebrate their superiority to camp one members while simultaneously making “slight alterations” (not resolutions!) to enhance their almost perfect approach to employment.
It really doesn’t matter in which camp we land (or think we land). What I am proposing is not a resolution, but rather a solution. A solution that is not focussed on enhancing or improving 2015 (because that is a resolution and “I don’t do resolutions”), but rather can create a more balanced, productive platform for the remainder of your working years. A solution that looks to minimize wasted time, eradicate misplaced energy, and obliterate the martyrdom vortex that often surrounds our working lives.
The solution starts by asking yourself — or even better, someone you love — a few simple questions:
- Could I work less hours and accomplish the same or more?
- Do I spend too many hours working or at work?
- Have I convinced myself that I am more important to my work life than my personal life?
- Do I have personal conversations with friends or family while simultaneously reading work-related emails or documents from my phone or computer?
- Do I use catastrophic descriptors to rationalize my unbalanced approach? For example, “We would starve or be homeless if I didn’t work this much”; “They just need one reason to axe me”; “People are waiting for me to fail”; or other similar sentiments.
Caution: I am not suggesting you risk your or your family’s emotional or financial well-being by showing up late, slacking at work, ignoring deadlines, or taking the month of March off if you are an accountant.
I am, however, strongly suggesting the following:
- Work smarter, not longer.
- Create a healthy divide between work and family.
- Don’t overestimate your value at work and underestimate your value to your loved ones.
- Ask yourself what are the most important roles in your life, and prioritize your time and energy accordingly.
- Recognize the difference between quality and quantity, and apply the concept both professionally and personally.
Happy New Year!
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