I have heard it said over and over again, “Never again will I let a company monopolize my time again like my last company did. I never got to see my kids grow up or do enough traveling, work in the community or walk the dog.”
Along comes the next opportunity, more cut backs require that everyone work two or three jobs, so what is one to do?
The desire to live to work, not work to live is self-inflicted for many, prompted by some craving to possibly nourish an empty soul. Sometimes people are blinded by work. Younger people want to prove something to themselves, their parents and their employers and the more experienced worker wants a challenge, a hefty paycheck and hopefully a chance at the brass ring.
So what can you do about working yourselves into an early grave? Here are some ideas that might give you a different perspective on being a workaholic
Firstly, re Firstly, realize your self esteem and understand that the world will still revolve on its axis if you take in a tennis game or a Toastmasters meeting some evening or on your lunch hour. The high levels of stress that are blatant in the workplace today reek of overtime and other peoples’ priorities, with little outlet for healthy living. Strive for obtainable goals that make you feel good about yourself. Maybe you can fit in some volunteer work at a food bank for an hour every month on your lunch hour or study a subject you have always wanted to know more about on the way home from work on your Kindle.
Plan better. Just because you have been doing a task or a routine one way doesn’t mean that is the only way it can be done. Ask others how they manage their schedules and step out of your comfort zone and try something a different way. Make lunches the night before; pay all your bills as they come in, not at the end of the month; read a novel in transit not your annual report; hire a cleaning service once a month – save for it by bringing coffee and a sandwich from home. Figure out your priorities and devise a plan to make your plan happen. Is it really such a huge effort to make a sandwich the night before to save $10 a day on eating lunch in a restaurant? (that’s $200 a month saving which is ¼ of a plane fare to Paris)
Delegate. Believe it or not you are not the only one in the office, let alone the universe, who knows something about what has to be done to solve a problem. Trust others with what you have taught them or train them properly to begin with so you can feel comfortable delegating right from the get go. Sitting in on your trainees meetings isn’t micro managing as long as you just observe. People also bring expertise or knowledge from other positions they have held that may benefit your department, ask about who knows what!
Upgrade your skills so you are better and faster at routine tasks. If you can complete a task in 10 minutes do it right now if you are looking to cross items off your to do list! If you are a procrastinator, forget about the teeny tiny jobs and get right down to the time sensitive, long term projects; the little stuff will only postpone the inevitable even longer. A one hour stress management seminar might save you a two hour doctors appointment.
Resist the temptation to surf on the internet or send goofy jokes to half the population in your Facebook world. Stop phoning your friends and relatives during work hours, that’s what coffee breaks and lunch hours are for. With the time you save not emailing junk and phoning your pals or family you can call people when you get home, at a decent time!
Get up and walk around every half hour, even if it is for only a minute. Taking a break every few minutes restores your energy and drive to optimal performance and heightens your productivity. Also, change your activity from a cerebral one to an activity – switch from problem solving to filing, calling someone to strategic thinking. Walking around also allows you face to face time with colleagues which increases your interpersonal relations and workplace visibility. People need to know you exist as a solid entity not just an email address….show your face everywhere possible.
Find out who in your company knows more about fixing your problems than you do; ask for help and help others. This strategy is not only more efficient but it also heightens your visibility, grows your network and lets others know what your offerings are and what role they can play in your life.
Colleen Clarke www.colleenclarke.com
Author of Networking How to Build Relationships That Count and How to Get a Job and Keep It
August 14th, 2011