You have heard the phrase “hard work pays off.” Hard work does take us closer to our goals, but too much work can be detrimental to our health and overall happiness. New challenges that were never seen before were brought on by the modernization of the 21st century which have made it more difficult to balance work and life. Technology, while it has improved our lives, makes it more difficult for us to connect with work. Social media has helped to create a stronger drive to succeed with many around the world now looking to reach the top, increasing competition among us. The goal of modern society is to create a work/life balance in which success is attainable without losing loved ones and everything you love. How can we create a better work/life balance? How can we ensure that we reach our goals without compromising our life?
“Technology makes it possible for people to gain control over everything, except over technology.” – John Tudor
Do you respond to emails or text messages from work even when you are at home or on vacation? Unfortunately, you are not alone. Many people feel the need to reply to emails when they are out of work, and there is nothing wrong with that if they are also spending quality time doing the things they love such as enjoying time alone or with the family. Every phone/email check that you make adds a little stress to our lives and takes away from the moment.
Technology is one of the biggest culprits for damaging our work/life balance. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, states that checking your phones and emails continuously can chip away your capacity for “concentration and contemplation.” As time progresses, you tend to have a difficult time focusing on one task and instead, end up multitasking which can lead you to missed deadlines and other problems. In the end, this inhibits your ability to concentrate resulting in you wasting more time on the project and less on the things you enjoy doing.
Instead, turn off your phone when you are at the dinner table, at your kid’s game, or out eating dinner. As Carr says in his book, you will finish your work faster if you focus on one thing alone while minimizing distractions. Don’t neglect family and peace of mind for some emails or text messages. That can wait.
Manage Your Schedule
“The key is no to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” – Stephen Covey
Society is complex and often requires you to complete as many tasks as possible in a day. What do you to do sort all these tasks? How do you “schedule your priorities?”
The first step is to drop activities that take your time and don’t improve your work or life. What are activities that take up time? These activities can range from gossiping to checking your bank statement regularly. For example, instead of going to the grocery store, you can order groceries online and have them delivered to your house. Can you hire someone to clean your house and your yard? Sourcing labor from the outside can be expensive if you are on a tight budget, but it can add more time for you to do your necessary work.
Create a schedule and include everything from your free time to the time you will spend on your work. Make sure your family and friends understand the schedule, and they should not bother you when you are working; you want to work as efficiently as possible with little distractions. The perks of creating a schedule are that it allows you to allocate time for everything you want to do and it makes you look forward to the fun events that you have included. You are more likely to finish your work if you have something exciting to do after. It’s also important to be realistic when creating your schedule; don’t create an overbooked schedule or you will be even more stressed out.
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
Let’s face it, no matter how good you think you are at multi-tasking, it is impossible to do everything. For this reason, it is important to have a support team that is willing to help you. When you not at work, it’s crucial that you have someone that you can trust. Not only does it give you peace of mind knowing that mistakes won’t be committed, but it also prevents disruptions that can take time away from doing other things that you enjoy.
Make sure that you have support at home from your family. It can be tough to focus at work if you are busy thinking about what is going on at home. The best support at home comes from your family; they need to understand the work you do and support you in whatever shape they can. Additionally, your family should help you take care of menial tasks while you are busy.
“No matter how much pressure you feel at work, if you could find ways to relax for at least five minutes every hour, you’d be more productive.” – Dr. Joyce Brothers
Many overlook the necessity to take a break from work. When you have so much to do, the last thing you want is to relax. Relaxation makes you more productive. Take five-minute breaks between tasks, and you will see how much more productive you become; in those breaks, you can do anything from spending some time alone to meditating.
Another misconception is that most think the little sleep they get is the total amount of relaxation they will need for the day. First, the little sleep you get can be harmful to our physical and mental health. Working for hours at night and waking up early in the morning seems like you are doing more work when instead you could be doing the same amount of work in a shorter time after you are well rested. Second, sleep alone is not enough and you should take breaks whenever you can. If you are not into long hours of sleep, then you can take short power naps that refresh your brain. The most important thing you can do is rest your body after a long day of work.
When creating a work/life balance, the most important thing you can do is manage your priorities according to what is most important to you. Checking your social media, or multi-tasking seems to take a little time but when added together can cause a big dent in your day. If you believe that work is the most important, you are not alone, but knowing how to create a schedule and receive support can make you enjoy life, while minimizing stress from work.
About the Author
Leonardo Georgescu is a full-time undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Minor in Unmanned Aerial Systems at UNLV. In his free time, Leonardo looks at various businesses and tries to learn from their mistakes. His strongest passion is helping a business grow to better serve the community. Leonardo hopes that one day he can use everything he has learned to open his own company.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of RVF or UNLV. In addition, thoughts and opinions are subject to change and this article is intended to provide an opinion of the author at the time of writing this article. All data and information is for informational purposes only.