Stay Fit and Healthy
Work Life Balance – Take Ownership, Set Boundaries
Yes it might be one of the highest ranked negative issues on employee satisfaction surveys – But HELLO your boss isn’t going to solve this one for you. In most instances your company’s objective is to get the most amount of work out of individuals in exchange for the minimum amount of salary required to avoid a revolt. You will need to take ownership and set your boundaries.
In recent years with the advancements of technology the boundaries between work and personal life have been continually blurred. In the past it was easy to define; if you were at the office, you were working. Otherwise, you were doing personal stuff. In that instance, Location was what is termed a “Marker” to help distinguish between work and play.
In todays interconnected world it’s harder to determine where to draw the line. If you are about to leave for work and your companies CEO is being interviewed on TV, will it be considered OK for you to show up late at work because you chose to watch for half an hour? If you are in the office checking e-mail and decide to have an online chat with a friend for 3 minutes about where to meet for dinner tonight, is that considered slacking off and impacting productivity or providing a mind clearing breather that others may have gotten in the past from a smoke or coffee break?
Take some time to stop and think about this in the context of your personal commitments and family life.
Set Boundaries and define your Markers
Make rules based on your core beliefs
If you have no rules you cannot assert yourself in terms of your boundaries. These rules can be applied not just to work based interruptions but also to how you focus on your family when you are with them. Remember – Live in the moment or life will pass you by.
Will you take any work-related calls or interruptions in the evenings? How late? On weekends? Maybe you’ll take them at any hour, but not when you’re actually with friends or family. Maybe you’ll check email daily, but won’t take calls (except when you’re visiting in-laws and need an excuse to escape). Decide when, where, and for how long you’re willing to be interrupted. Also decide how much time you’re willing to devote to unpaid work after hours or on weekends. Remember if you’re salaried, you’re not being paid overtime, so every extra hour is a pay cut.
Consider the practicality of your rules
Before taking action, think about the specific rules that you have defined and how they can apply practically to your situation and your career. In some companies, not working after hours or on weekends will put the brakes on your career. In some professions, limiting your interruptions is not an option. If you are a medical doctor or an IT system administrator, being on call may be a job requirement. If this is one of your rules you will need to find an alternative career or a different type of position that could still utilize your skills.
Draw Your Boundaries
Start setting boundaries based on your rules. Set them for yourself first. Work during work time, and play during play time. See whether or not you even like the rules you set up. While the lines may blur and you may move back and forth between work and personal time more frequently during the day you need to establish effective boundaries. Overall work hard during work hours, and play during play hours. Ideally don’t mix them! Don’t think about work while you play, and don’t think about play while you work. Your brain will respect that. If it knows you’ll leave work at 5 p.m. to play, it will let you stay focused on work all day until then. If you need to break it into smaller chunks during the day then do that – clearly set 30 minutes aside, close your door and call your friends or update your Facebook page. But be disciple about it stick to the time limit, put that aside and focus 100% on your work.
Define your Markers
Location was once a popular marker to distinguish between work and play. Technology smashes that distinction, but you can still use location. When you physically leave the office, stop answering your cell phone or email. If you work from home, have a separate work area. When you leave that area, you leave work. Clothes can be a marker. Even working from home, you can wear specific work clothes during work hours. When you change into your comfortable pants, you know you’re done with work for the day. Time can be your marker: you’ll work from 8 till 5 and leave promptly at 5. If you’re using time as a marker, respect that! If you’re still in the office at 5:15 p.m., you’ve been done with work for 15 minutes. Few of us have the willpower to use time as a marker. Location is much more powerful.
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GajGal is an expanding community of mothers helping mothers. Our motto “Get a Job | Get a Life” is based on the belief that for mothers wanting to get back into the workforce, finding a job with “the right level” of flexibility, empowers working mothers to live life on their own terms and better control their own destiny.
GajGal aims to address this “new reality” through four core components:
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- 4. The Entrepreneur Zone is for mothers aiming to start their own business and expand on the concepts of working mothers helping working mothers succeed.
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