Three Strategies For Putting Balance Back Into Your Work Life

Three Strategies for​ Putting Balance Back into Your WorkLife
Has the​ pendulum swung too far in​ increasing productivity at​ the​ expense of​ employee worklife balance? in​ an article titled, Americans of​ All Stripes Are Sicker Than They Need to​ Be, Paul Krugman indicated that fulltime American workers work, on average, about 46 weeks per year compared with 41 weeks for​ fulltime British, French and​ German workers. One indication that this is​ taking a​ toll on American workers is​ that it​ appears that more employees are taking mental health days. According to​ a​ May 8th article in​ the​ Minneapolis Star Tribune, more than onethird of​ U. S. workers say they played hooky from work over the​ past 12 months. Were you one of​ them?
One HR executive with an S&P 500 company that I ​ spoke with said, the​ gains in​ productivity of​ the​ past few years have been on the​ backs of​ our employees who are maxed out. as​ for​ myself, during the​ week I ​ go to​ work and​ come home. if​ Im lucky I ​ have time to​ eat dinner, work out, shower and​ go to​ bed. I ​ dont know where were going to​ get the​ next round of​ productivity.
Need further proof? According to​ syndicated columnist and​ bestselling business author, Chuck Martin, less than 15 percent of​ more than 2,000 senior executives and​ managers thought that their lives were in​ balance. When asked why, many pointed to​ technology which has made it​ easier to​ stay connected to​ work.
To make matters worse, in​ a​ recent study by Randstad USA, 38% of​ employed U. S. adults indicated that they do not usually take lunch, 33% work overtime without additional compensation, and​ 31% say they work on Sundays.
What does all of​ this mean to​ you? in​ effect, you are now on call 24/7 including weekends, holidays, and​ vacations.
If moving abroad to​ work in​ Britain, France or​ Germany is​ not an option for​ you, then read on for​ some tips on how to​ stop this worklife balance madness.
1. Establish and​ communicate boundaries for​ where, when and​ how you will work. Put it​ in​ writing, share it​ with your boss and​ staff, and​ more importantly, adhere to​ it. Make sure it​ is​ something you feel comfortable with. for​ example, one executive I ​ know works from 730 a. m. 6 p. m. She is​ available via cell phone during her commute 700 730 a. m. and​ 600 630 p. m. She checks email remotely once during the​ evening after going home and​ her kids are in​ bed. Saturday is​ her family day and​ she doesnt do any work. She checks emails again on Sunday evening and​ takes time to​ plan and​ prepare for​ her work week while watching Greys Anatomy. the​ key figure out what will work for​ you!
2. Control technology rather than let it​ control you. Blackberry, PDAs, cell phones, laptops, and​ remote access are tools to​ help you be successful, not control you. Most executives that I ​ speak to​ reluctantly admit that no one has mandated that they be linked to​ the​ office 24 hours a​ day. Stop being a​ superhero and​ limit your use/ abuse of​ technology. Try turning off your Blackberry or​ cell phone after leaving work or​ at​ least when you get home. Stop text messaging and​ checking emails during meetings not only is​ it​ rude, but if​ you cant be fully present, then perhaps you dont belong in​ the​ meeting after all.
3. Use technology to​ help you execute your business goals. Block time for​ projects, planning, and​ strategic activities or​ your day will be filled with the​ urgent and​ not the​ important. Block time on your calendar for​ coffee, lunch and​ other types of​ networking meetings as​ it​ is​ important to​ see and​ be seen. Schedule specific times preferably only two times per day when you will review/ respond to​ email so that you arent constantly interrupting your work flow every time a​ new email arrives. Use the​ task list and​ reminder features in​ your email or​ database management tool to​ schedule tasks to​ be completed on specific days. if​ you find that you are frequently interrupted during time you scheduled to​ work on projects, planning, and​ strategic activities, forward your phone to​ voicemail or​ even better, book a​ conference room or​ go some other place where you can work without interruption.
In a​ commencement address delivered to​ 2,700 Oklahoma State University Graduates, President George W. Bush gave this advice, Harness the​ promise of​ technology without becoming slaves to​ technology. Now thats good advice.

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