Work Life Balance
Is work-life balance only about your hours? Nope…it’s about so much more….
I had dinner the other night at a local restaurant; and I noticed that the owner of the restaurant seemed to be in an especially foul mood. It was as if seating us was an inconvenience. It wasn’t the first time this happened at this restaurant. The first time, I chalked it up to a bad day; the second time; it made me wonder if I was the only person who felt this way.
The next day I had mentioned my dinner location to a friend; and, without any prompting from me, spoke up and said that she didn’t like going to this establishment because the owner/hostess always made her feel unwelcome.
I’m sure the owner doesn’t realize she’s sending this negative message…but, unfortunately customers are feeling it.
Our Subconscious Behaviors
When dealing with the normal stresses of life, we often become preoccupied in our own thoughts. While we may be interacting at work and going through the motions; our minds are somewhere else. This can make us unaware of the visual cues that we’re sending…like that disinterested look you get from the grocery check out person. Or, the restaurant owner who seems dismissive while seating you.
Daily life causes all of us to push priorities around in our heads. For example, if you are the coach of your son’s soccer team you may be subconsciously watching the weather all day debating if practice should be cancelled. Or, If you have a big project due at work, you may be highly distracted while reading the bedtime story to your child. This kind of shifting of focus is normal.
But, what happens when you are dealing with an extremely difficult situation at work, or a serious medical condition of a family member? How do you keep those big issues from disrupting the things you absolutely must be doing in order to maintain your career or business?
First, you acknowledge the stress. Trying to ignore stressors is like trying to hold down a beach ball under water. You can keep it down for a while, but eventually it will bounce up and smack you right in the face. It will help if you can accept that these stressors are in your life; and recognize your own ability to deal with them.
I see this in my coaching clients often. They may be dealing with major family problems, a major work project, and a child’s graduation…at the same time. Some of these things are positive, some are negative; but all are stressors. And, if they’re ignored…like the beachball, it will come back as a smack in the face.
Make a list of things that are on your mind. Beside each thing, write down the worst possible scenario that could happen IF this thing were to come true. Then, beside that worst possible scenario, write down how real that possibility is, on a scale of 1 – 10. Often you’ll find that your worries are not as realistic as your mind makes them out to be.
On occasion, you may find that they are. For those items that fall within an 8 – 10 level of reality, write down how you will handle the circumstance if and when it does happen. And, try reminding yourself of something similar that you’ve already handled in your past. Having a clear plan of action, even if painful, will help you put it to rest, at least for a few hours so you can focus on the daily tasks that you must accomplish.
This exercise won’t make your problems disappear. But, it can help you put them into perspective. In order to be successful at work, it is imperative that you create a strong work/life emotional balance. It is this balance that will allow you to keep moving forward and not get stuck in a negative cycle where obsessing about one problem causes you to lose focus and creates an entirely new problem.
Emotional work/life balance can matter even more than the physical work/life balance,..don’t ignore your stress, okay? You’ve got this…