Someone asks you how work is going. You roll your eyes, make a farm animal-like sound, and feel yourself gearing up for a diatribe.
Even if you love your job, there will be rough times. Times when the thought of going into work brings dread. Long hours, working weekends, and doing tasks that don’t play to your strengths.
In other blogs, I’ve talked about how to change your thinking so you’re getting the results you want at work no matter the circumstances. Today, let’s talk about how to get back to normal when things at work aren’t, so you aren’t damaging your evenings and weekends (and alienating friends and family).
For the purposes of this article, I’m focusing on what you can do outside of work, rather than changing what is happening at work.
Make physical activity a priority
For some reason, when we’re overworked one of the first things we take off our “to-do” list is exercise.
If you have to let some things go in your personal life during a stressful time at work, there are two things you MUST keep as priorities, and one of them is physical activity.
What can you do that you a) enjoy, and b) will give you the biggest bang in the shortest amount of time?
Get sufficient sleep
This is the other priority you MUST keep, no matter what is happening at work.
You KNOW you can’t possibly give your best effort at work if you are sleep-deprived. Further, your family and friends aren’t going to want to hang around you if you’re only half-awake.
Set a personal goal
Having a goal that has nothing to do with work can be a powerful motivator to make the best use of your non-work hours.
Do you want to train for a half-marathon, learn a foreign language, or hone your painting skills?
Identify something you’re passionate about and give it a regular slot in your schedule.
Cultivate your relationships
When you’re in a stressful period at work, it can be easy to forego plans with friends and family. It can also be difficult to initiate such plans if you’re afraid you’ll have to bail at the 11th hour.
The key here is to go for quality over quantity. You might not be able to set three or four social engagements during a stressful week at work, but can you schedule one? Or do you have a friend or loved one who is game for a last-minute activity when you find yourself with an unexpected open block of time?
Let go of the unimportant
When your personal time is limited, this presents a great opportunity to eliminate the unnecessary and inconsequential from your life.
What can you stop doing? What can you hire someone else to do, such as cleaning or yard work? Are there relationships in your life that no longer serve you? Can you create personal time by having groceries delivered or purchasing pre-made meals? Could you turn off the t.v. in favor of a workout or visiting with a friend?
Look at your daily and weekly activities with a critical eye, and eliminate or minimize those that aren’t enjoyable for you.
Ask for help
Let those closest to you know what’s going on at work, how long you expect it to continue, and ask for their help. Parents, a spouse or significant other, and your closest friends might be able to pitch in with such things as shopping, childcare, and simple errands.
Don’t suffer in silence! “No one can fill those of our needs that we don’t let show,” says the classic song “Lean on Me.” So true.
Interested in a deep dive with me? Register for my next webinar. In addition to great content, you’ll have the opportunity to ask me questions and even get coached by me live! Here’s the link to find out about this month’s topic, date, and time: click here
To listen to this week’s podcast, “Work/Life Blend (Balance is a Myth)” click here: