Entrepreneurs and employees alike think that they can’t rest while there’s still work waiting to be done. Until and unless every single task is finished—all calls are returned, emails are answered, orders have been placed and promo materials sent—you can’t even take a bathroom break.
We’re wired and connected 24/7 with mobile gadgets, smartphones, laptops and electronic readers that are meant to help us get things done even on the go.
The pressure and stress of work has begun to seep even into our home and personal lives. We don’t a private sanctuary anymore, some little place we can escape to and forget about job worries even for just a while. The health and lifestyle of most working adults have become seriously compromised, all in the name of earning more and getting things done.
But have you ever asked yourself—is success really difficult to achieve? How many years more must I run from airport to airport, meeting to meeting just to get to the top of the business ladder? Am I making the right choices and sacrifices to ensure a bright future for my family?
The long journey
Launching your own start-up or working as a corporate officer both require great amounts of dedication, perseverance and patience. You don’t turn wealthy in a few weeks unless you’re absolutely lucky. For most people, achieving success means putting in hundreds, even thousands, of hours of hard work.
It’s not hard to imagine why people sometimes literally drop dead from sheer exhaustion. We all suffer some form of burnout at one point or another because we live intrinsically stressful, pace-faced lives. However, you don’t really have to compromise your health, family life and personal satisfaction for the sake of success. There is a way to balance out your work and your life without getting run down by the competition.
Prioritize your activities
The first step you should take in achieving equal amounts of business and pleasure in your life is by prioritizing the things you need to do each day. Are there some activities that you need to attend to ahead of the others because of their urgency, difficulty or both? Put them at the top of your to-do list so that you begin the day with the hardest tasks, and then gradually move on to lighter, simpler chores as your energy and attention wavers.
Remember that you are not a robot or a perpetual-motion machine that can keep running at 100% efficiency forever, so you should learn how to prioritize your activities and allocate enough time for everything. When the day ends, you know that you’ve achieved a lot during your work hours because you were able to take care of the most pressing matters right away. There’s a certain pleasant buzz you get from knowing that you did your job well and right on schedule.
Take quick breaks
Don’t be afraid to take a break during work hours if you really feel too stressed out and devoid of fresh ideas. Sometimes all it takes to get your creative juices running is a short break from the daily grind. You don’t have to spend money on expensive spa or massage treatments—just grab your jacket and get away from the office.
You can take a stroll to a nearby park to clear your head and get your circulation running again. Or you can get coffee or that long-delayed lunch at your favorite restaurant. Maybe you just need a half-hour power nap to refresh your mind and rest your body. Perhaps you can call a loved one like your friend, parent, spouse or child—their voice can cheer you up and encourage you to get back to work with renewed zest.
There are many different ways by which you can relax and give yourself a little boost, even when you’re neck-deep in paperwork, emails and phone calls. These small activities won’t take you too much time and won’t even cost you lots of money.
Learn to say no
Sometimes the problem with some working people is that they don’t set a personal limit for how much work they can take. They tend to go on and on, skipping meals, bathroom breaks and sleep hours just to get the job done. Your dedication is admirable, but you should learn to say no when your hands are full and you don’t have time for additional tasks.
Limiting your work load isn’t a form of surrender or a declaration of defeat. It’s simply telling your superiors or your customers that you have reached the maximum limit where they can expect you to work efficiently and effectively. If you take in more than you can handle, you increase the chances of turning in sloppy output, which neither you nor your superiors/customers would like.
Ally is part of the team that manages Australian Credit Cards, a personal finance blog based in Sydney, Australia. Before joining ACC, she was a Media Planner with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.