Most managers would like to develop a department that is helpful to their staff, a culture that allows people to live their life well, alongside high commitment to work. Learn More
An American investment banker was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. Learn More
I know it will be controversial, but I don’t think the expression work/life (as if you can split work from life – surely they are part of the same thing?) is entirely accurate.
I prefer to think of it as work/social/home life split. But many people tell me that they find it difficult to switch off from work when they are at home. Does this include you? Here are some ideas that may help:
Commuting: Use this as a sort of transition time between home and work. If possible, think through what your plans are for the day, but also spend some of that time reading an absorbing book or listening to music that will set you up for the day.
Actually switch off when you are at home: If you find yourself mulling over stuff from work, make a specific change at home that will switch your brain from work-mode to home/family mode. Get a soduko or crossword puzzle, or do something physically challenging. It will get your brain engaged in something different to work.
Avoid the ‘Blackberry Always On’ syndrome: This links in with the previous tip, in that, while your phone is on, your brain is still mentally connected to work. If you really want that family dinner un-interrupted, take the plunge and put the phone away.
Have an agreed finish time at least two days per week: Agree a time with your boss and stick to it. That will keep you in control and give your family a specific time to plan things in the evening without the worry of cancellations.
Actually take time off: I know it will exasperate many of you, but research has shown that you are actually more productive on the Monday if you have actually taken the weekend off doing things YOU want to do. You know it makes sense!
Take regular breaks during the day: If you come in early and work late, having regular breaks will stop you from thinking you’re working all the time. Even 5 minutes of down time two or three times in the morning, and an extended lunch break, can convince your brain you are actually working efficiently and will avoid overload.
By identifying what you can do to create a barrier between your work and home life, you will be able to spend more focused time on doing what is important at work without it causing problems emotionally at home.
I’ve learned a new word. Hyperopia is, simply put, the fancy medical term used to refer to farsightedness.
What does farsightedness have to do with your career as a manager?
It all has to do with work/life balance.
From an economic standpoint, hyeropia is the failure of an individual to make a long-term estimate about the benefits of the work he is doing. In most cases, we believe that the future benefit will be greater than it actually is, and, as a result, we opt to work during times we should be relaxing or spending time witho ur families.
There was an article in Harvard Magazine, in the September-October 2009 issue. In the article, researchers surveyed a group of individuals about the choices they had made in business, and they found something incredibly interesting. If they asked someone if work was more important than leisure time right after a person had to make a decision about that time, they’d choose work. The longer it had been since a pivotal decision making point, the more people felt as though they should have taken some time for themselves.
Hindsight is 20/20, right?
My point is that you, as a manager, need to find great work/life balance. You need to really think about whether or not working overtime is going to have a huge impact on your future – or whether or not you’d rather spend time watching your kids grow up – or preventing illness from overwork.
The choice is up to you.