Each person’s job is different and requires different sacrifices and offers different rewards. The perfect job for one person could also be a nightmare for another. Some want a job that is predictable and regular, while other may want a job that has certain elements of excitement and surprises.
Most of us can agree that we need money to survive, but everyone has a different definition of how much of it is needed. We can also agree that the amount of work we must be committed to depends on our goals and aspirations. If those aspirations are lofty, be prepared for a lot of work and hopefully it is something you really enjoy and find personally rewarding. On the other hand, a huge number of professionals want a balanced career and life. In other words, we want to earn sufficient money to offer our desired standard of living, but also the time and psychological energy reserve so we can enjoy life and family.
So, what should you do? There are five (5) basic suggestions that can be adapted to your particular situation.
Here they are.
- Increase your level of expertise – Simply stated, the more expertise you have the more efficiently and effective you can do your job. If you can do a 2 hour job or project in 30 minutes, you have 90 minutes of discretionary time. Let’s be clear that I am not suggesting that we always use that extra time for personal business, but it can lead to more time to “enjoy” life.
- Prioritize your tasks and projects – You must take a proactive approach to your schedule and time or you will always be under time and dead line pressure. I would say, never make a random list. Every list should be prioritized so that by the end of the day you have accomplished what is important and sometimes urgent. The other benefit is that you do not have to feel guilty about leaving the office on time to fulfill an item on your “life” or family list.
- Don’t leave vacation time on the books – Use your vacation. Don’t forget that vacation time is a real part of your compensation. Of course, there are some organizations that limit the amount of carry-over vacation or cash out excess amounts. The real value of vacation is the opportunity for you to decompress, and revitalize your energy level and stamina. Actually, vacations are offered so that you can be more effective and efficient while at work.
- Get a hobby – If you don’t have a hobby, get one! If you have abandoned your hobby, or friends, revisit the hobby and revitalize the relationships with your friends. It is important to schedule time to visit with friends. Some may even enjoy the same hobby as you do. Earlier, I mentioned prioritizing you lists and this includes time for your hobbies, family and friends.
- Make a financial plan and follow it – You may have felt that financial planning is for the very wealthy. I think that the opposite is true. My theory is that everyone should plan to sustain at least six months of unemployment. In a globalized economy, entire industries can change or be “off-shored” overnight. Your financial plan may not resemble a wealthy person’s plan, but the needs are similar. You need to minimize debt, increase savings, increase equity and provide a financial cushion for difficult periods and unexpected events.
Peace of mind is very important and critical to your state of well-being. A part of work-life balance is the freedom from stress and misery. We could develop a longer list of suggestions, but the key point is to begin the process. If you don’t agree with all of the items on this list, feel free to make substitutions. The main thing is to GET STARTED on your plan.
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