Do you work to live, or live to work? Which way round is it for you? Do you find that it’s easier to stay longer at work than to turn off your computer, leave the office and do something else – like having a social life, or spending time with your family?
Sounds familiar? Ask yourself why. Why do you do it? (Be honest.)
- Really too much work?
- Peer pressure? Company work ethic?
- Or is being in the office easier than organising your free time?
It could be that you really do have too much work. And in some companies, it’s true that people look at you oddly if you leave the office before 7 pm. It’s even possible that you genuinely love your work so much that you’d spend every hour doing it, if you could.
But are you aware that you may actually be damaging your closest relationships by living like this, and making it impossible for yourself ever to have a real social life? And even that you may be harming your health?
Change your ways
We can all change. It’s just a matter of choice, of setting priorities. First of all, decide that you’re going to do it, and then tell other people what you’re planning, so they know what to expect.
And then follow these useful tips. They really work:
1. Set a frame for your work day and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be every day to start with – just twice a week, for example. But on these days you must arrive at work at a certain time and you must leave at a certain time. If you think you might lose track of time, set a reminder in Outlook or an alarm on your mobile phone. Alternatively, you could get someone you know to phone you, to remind you that there’s life outside work and that it’s waiting for you.
2. Make plans for your evenings. Some people have problems leaving work because they worry about what they should do with their free time. If this is the reason you’re staying longer at the office, then a regular class once or twice a week, where you meet other people and do something you enjoy, is a great option. Doing sport, learning another language, playing a musical instrument – all of these activities are good for you, and you’ll have to leave work punctually to get there on time. Alternatively, make plans to go for a drink or a meal with friends; spend time with your family, or go home and read a book. Sleep.
3. Set yourself deadlines and meet them. The better organised you are, the quicker you can do your work. Decide by when you want to get things done, and then really focus on each task, one after the other, instead of letting things drag on for hours or days. You’ll find that not only will the quality and consistency of your work improve, you’ll enjoy being able to cross items off your to-do list – and you’ll have no excuse not to leave work!
4. Only be a perfectionist when it’s worth it. It isn’t always. And the danger of always trying to do everything perfectly is that you may end up never finishing anything at all – because it can never measure up to your standards. Once again, this can be a delaying tactic to avoid leaving the office. Make sure your effort is proportionate to the value of the task and remember that sometimes it’s OK to be content with something that’s “good enough” – and then do something else.
5. Don’t be a hero. If you really have too much work, talk to your boss about how to manage it more efficiently. Don’t just assume you have to struggle on alone. Could your colleagues provide support? Or maybe you can outsource, if you’re a small business?
6. Fill in a worksheet and make a to-do list for the morning. This should be the last thing you do before leaving work. Decide on a time, maybe 6 pm, and then fill in your work sheet and make a to-do list at that time, every day. And after that, go home. Don’t take your work with you – do something different with your evening; sleep! You’ll be much more healthy, efficient and productive this way.
7. Don’t turn into a workaholic. The irony is that although workaholics spend most of their time working, they are actually often inefficient workers and bad team players. They tend to focus on being busy instead of being productive; they are often less organised and efficient than their colleagues. Lacking a reason to stop work, they just work all the time. Real workaholism is a severe problem that can ruin lives – don’t let it get that far!
Maintaining a healthy life balance is essential to your wellbeing. Try to follow our tips and you should be well on your way. And who knows, maybe you’ll help your fellow workers find their way home, too.
Original Post : http://goo.gl/UDxbT