Getting consumed with work is easy to do, especially when you spend most of your waking hours working. But people who only talk about their jobs are boring and one-dimensional – so here are guidelines to help you find your balance.
1. How much time do you spend at work?
Is it really necessary to work long, extra hours to accomplish your tasks and objectives, or are you regularly staying late for other reasons? Don't stay late to impress your boss or your peers, or simply because you are not managing your time well during the day.
2. Manage your energy, not your time.
Check your energy levels throughout the day and week. Leave work early one evening a week — say Wednesday — so you can maintain momentum. Take regular breaks throughout the day, to help improve your attention throughout the day.
3. Banish time hogs.
Seek out your critical time-stealers and develop a plan to deal with them. It could be trying to deal with demanding people, routines or unnecessary meetings – or your own bad habits. Stop attending unnecessary meetings, limit face-time with your demanding direct report, or stop visiting distracting websites. This should help you feel more in charge of your agenda.
4. Find a buddy or mentor at work.
Always complaining to your partner about work? Chat to a colleague instead! Meet a colleague once a week and during this time, allow each other half an hour to rant and rave about work issues and seek advice. This could be a great pressure valve for you.
5. Treat no-work time as sacred.
Protect your time outside work as much as you can. You need to be able to switch off from work for your own health and sanity and that of your friends and family. Find a way to refresh and replenish yourself after a week's work. Take up a new hobby and develop interests outside work – whether it's gym, long walks, visiting friends or dropping into an art gallery.
6. You are more than your job.
No matter how much you love your job, it is a mistake to define yourself too closely to your work. Take time to reflect on what you want to achieve in life and think about your definition of personal success. This should help you during those times when work gets difficult and the pressure becomes unbearable.
How do you make sure that you don't become a tired, over-stretched professional? We value your thoughts and insights so share your suggestions below.