How to separate work from the rest of your life

How to separate work from the rest of your life

Being a loyal employee and demonstrating dedication to your career are positive traits, both of which employers love to see in members of their team. But just like too much dieting can turn unhealthy, and watching too much news can produce stress, being too loyal and too dedicated can also have a downside. If you’re putting all of your eggs in the work basket and, in doing so, neglecting other important aspects of your life, you may be putting yourself at risk for career burnout. Much has been written in recent years about maintaining work and life balance. In this post, we’d like to share a series of simple exercises designed to help you determine how balanced you are and create an opportunity to reflect on where you need to focus more or less attention.

Note: It might be helpful to print out the following exercises, or copy/paste the text into a document to print so that you can do the exercises several times over the next year.

Exercise #1

Rank in 1-10 order (1 being the most important) the following areas of your life that you feel are critical to your overall well-being and happiness.

_____ Career

_____ Relationship with spouse or significant other

_____ Family and friends; social time

_____ Financial security

_____ Faith; spirituality; religion; reflection; meditation

_____ Hobbies; activities for personal enjoyment

_____ Health and fitness

_____ Home and personal environment

_____ Learning; education

_____ Personal growth and development; emotional well-being or healing

Exercise #2

Now, for each of the 10 areas, grade yourself (A, B, C, D, F) on how well you’re doing in terms of giving each one enough time, energy and attention.

_____ Career

_____ Relationship with spouse or significant other

_____ Family and friends; social time

_____ Financial security

_____ Faith; spirituality; religion; reflection; meditation

_____ Hobbies; activities for personal enjoyment

_____ Health and fitness

_____ Home and personal environment

_____ Learning; education

_____ Personal growth and development; emotional well-being or healing

Compare exercise #1 with exercise #2. What gaps or disconnects do you see? For example, if you rated “Health and Fitness” as your first priority in exercise #1, but graded yourself a “C” in that area, that’s something to pay attention to.

Exercise #3

List three things you want to do less of or eliminate from your life over the next 90 days.

1. ____________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________

Exercise #4

List three things you want to do start doing or do more of over the next 90 days.

1. ____________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________

Exercise #5

Write down one primary goal that you’d like to achieve within the next 30 days.

_____________________________________________________________________

Exercise #6

Write down one primary goal that you’d like to achieve within the next 90 days.

_____________________________________________________________________

Exercise #7

List three people who can support you in accomplishing what you wrote down for exercises 3, 4, 5 and 6.

1. ____________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________

Exercise #8

Write down three small things that you will do this week that will likely help you move toward achieving your goal of improved work/life balance. (Examples: Tell Sue about this process and ask for her support; renew gym membership; inquire about reducing work hours from 40 to 36 hours per week).

1. ____________________________________________

2. ____________________________________________

3. ____________________________________________

Exercise #9

Take a moment to reflect on how it felt to work through this series of exercises. Write down a few words based on what you feel at this moment.

We hope that this simple, self-reflective process has been helpful to you. It never hurts to slow down and think about what’s important, what’s missing and what needs attention. Good luck with your goals, and with maintaining what you consider to be optimal work/life balance.