As the saying goes: “Work to live, don’t live to work”. Work enables us to fulfill our destiny either through remuneration (to afford to do what we want) or through personal satisfaction (achieving something great, no matter how small). Sometimes, however, we lose sight of why we are working, and the work itself becomes the goal.
Karen Kruger, Air Traffic Control for Amka, says you, your family and friends deserve as much commitment, respect and time as you give to your work. “Humans are geared towards community, and this very essence of who we are always seems to be sacrificed at the altar of a job. It takes a concerted, committed effort to ensure that there is an overall balance or you will be sucked into your job,” she says.
Kruger suggests implementing these six strategies to avoid getting burnt out:
Be fully conscious of your work/life balance and commit to ensuring it exists. It’s too easy to let things slide, and there are so many excuses as to why this happens. Track how you are spending your time each day. Set appointments with your family, friends and yourself to ensure that you don’t get too bogged down with work. Also ensure that you go to bed at a set time each night, and keep to this routine as far as possible.
Finish/manage your work during the working day
If you find that you are having to work too many late nights or weekends, there are two things wrong: you lack the skills to work smarter and/or you are overwhelmed.
Seek help from those around you to manage this. It is not a weakness to acknowledge that you need help. This is not a reflection of your competence, because as it happens, those who achieve the most will get more work to do because they get it done. Stay out of this trap.
Switch off technology
Don’t access emails after hours or on weekends. Take 30 minutes each morning to clear your inbox. Don’t take your computer home unless absolutely necessary.
Learn to say “no”
It’s such a small, yet powerful word, but many people don’t use it enough. It’s important to know your limits and to listen to your gut instincts. If you are already feeling overwhelmed, don’t agree to take on more work or commit to social events.
Do something for yourself for 30 minutes a day to switch over from work to home. This could include singing in the car, taking the dog for a walk or making inroads on Candy Crush. Your family doesn’t deserve to bear the brunt of your work-stress hangovers.
Take guilt-free me time
Do this every day if possible, but every week is a must. The key to enjoying your downtime is that it is guilt-free. Focus on recharging, restoring and centering yourself. You are no good to anybody, including yourself, if you are a hot mess.