After putting those extra long hours at work, someone who cares may have told you, “Your health is all you got, so take care of it”. Many of us believe that statement. However, we too quickly bury it under the rug because we want to protect the job that provides for our family. Not to mention a possible promotion.
At the end of the day, most professionals understand, they need to rest in order to give their best for tomorrow’s work day. Yet, when we get home, there is usually spouse and eager children who deserve the best of you. So how can we accomplish greatness at work and at home?
The Mayo Clinic has an excellent guide to help achievers, workaholics, and those simply seeking a more peaceful work-life experience. Below is an excellent summary from the Mayo Clinic and my added thoughts in italics to encourage your best work-life journey.
- Manage your time. Cut or delegate activities you don’t enjoy or can’t handle — or share your concerns and possible solutions with your employer or others. Organize household tasks efficiently, such as running errands in batches or doing a load of laundry every day; don’t save all the laundry for your day off. Do what needs to be done and let the rest go.
- Make a list. Put family events on a weekly calendar, and keep a daily to-do list at home and at work. Having a plan helps you maintain focus. When you don’t have a plan, it’s easy to be sucked into the plans and priorities of others.
- Learn to say no. Whether it’s a co-worker asking you to spearhead an extra project or a friend asking you to to organize a party. When you quit accepting tasks out of guilt or a false sense of obligation, you’ll have more time for activities that are [more] meaningful.
- Leave work at work. With the technology to connect to anyone at any time from virtually anywhere, there might be no boundary between work and home — unless you create it. Make a conscious decision to separate work time from personal time. And of course it does not hurt to check your phone once an hour or better yet delegate all calls, emails, and texts to a colleague.
- Reduce email access. Check emails no more than three times a day — late morning, early afternoon and late in the day. If you access email first thing in the morning, you tend to focus on and respond to other people’s issues rather than being proactive about your own needs.
- Take advantage of your options. Ask your employer about flex hours, a compressed workweek, job sharing, telecommuting or other scheduling flexibility. The more control you have over your hours, the less stressed you’re likely to be.
- Try to shorten commitments and minimize interruptions. Most people can sustain a maximum level of concentration for no more than 90 minutes. After that, the ability to retain information decreases dramatically. When interrupted during a task, you need double or triple the time of the interruption to regain full concentration on your task.
Finally, Care for yourself! A healthy lifestyle is essential to coping with stress and achieving your best work-family balance. Try this:
- Eat a healthy diet. The Mediterranean diet — which emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables and lean protein — enhances the ability to retain knowledge as well as stamina and well-being.
- Get enough sleep. Lack of sleep increases stress. It’s also important to avoid using personal electronic devices, such as tablets, just before bedtime. The blue light emitted by these devices decreases your level of melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep.
- Make time for fun and relaxation. Set aside time each day for an activity that you enjoy, such as reading and music. Better yet, discover activities you can do with your family or friends — such as hiking, dancing or taking dancing classes.
- Volunteer. Selective volunteering might lower your levels of burnout and stress and boost your emotional and social well-being.