Are you married to your job? Have your family, personal hobbies and social life taken the back-seat? For how long has this state of affairs been going on?
If you do not have a healthy work-life balance, chances are that your stress-levels are on the higher side. You may be able to detect some of the symptoms of stress within yourself – fatigue, recurring headaches, lack of appetite, depression and hopelessness, etc. However, the more dangerous symptoms of work-related stress are likely to be flying below the radar. If you don’t know this by now, wake up – stress can kill you.
Gone are the days when people could draw the line between work and personal life. Modern technology (read Blackberry, laptops and video conferences) has ensured that work follows us wherever we go. This causes us to lose whatever harmony we may have once had in our lives. We forsake our hobbies, give our families the short end of the stick and lose touch with our friends. We do nothing to divert ourselves from work and work-related issues
If you’re currently married to your job because you’re chasing a promotion, remember that losing your work-life balance can actually impede your productivity. The lack of diversion and family time will cause your faculties to overload and slow down. Moreover, you will have lost focus on what hard work is finally all about – creating a better life for yourself and your loved ones. Your absence from your family is therefore not going to increase the quality quotient of your life.
Also, don’t forget that the more you put in over and beyond the call of duty, the more will be routinely expected of you. You may soon find yourself shouldering a burden of responsibilities that should ideally be spread over a team. In other words, your hard work may be nullifying the chances of forming and leading a team for your department. This obviously translates into negative career growth.
Losing work-life balance is also a leading cause of substance abuse, nervous breakdowns, and various other health-related problems.
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Finally, excessive work may also be an escape mechanism. Many people whose personal lives are out of whack to tend to bury themselves in work. This is a form of denial which can have serious consequences. The objective in such cases is to postpone or entirely avoid working on such issues. The ultimate result will be that these unresolved issues reach a breaking point. For instance, many divorces take place because of this syndrome.
If you find yourself consistently working harder and longer hours and losing work-life balance, it is time to take a close look at your options. Here are some the questions you should get answers for:
- Are you empowered to hire subordinates?
- What are your delegation powers?
- Is your company open to flexible working hours and/or telecommuting?
However, the onus of creating work-life harmony still falls on you. After all, we cannot blame our employers for giving us work-loads that we seem willing and even eager to take on. If you have not learned to refuse to take on excessive work, you may need counseling to muscle up your assertiveness skills. You should also reinvent your weekly schedule to include a fair and equitable amount of time with your family, with your friends and on your own to pursue your personal interests.