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Young Professional Perspective: Get a Life!

Posted by: Pulse Young Professionals on Thursday, May 15, 2014
How to Achieve Work/Life Balance Young professionals often times are the ones who rarely achieve a work/life balance because of goals or an impression we are trying to make.  In today’s workplace, young professionals are working harder to move up the ladder, trying to prove ourselves to older colleagues.  Not having a balance between work and our personal life can do more harm than good.  Here are some tips from Forbes on how to maintain that thin line between our work life and our personal life:
  1. Learn your employer’s policies. Inquire about your company’s policies on flextime and working from home. If you’re a strong performer, you have a better chance of negotiating an arrangement that works for both you and your employer.  You may find something you didn’t know you were allowed to do!
  2. Communicate. If you won’t be available for certain hours during the day or weekend because you’re dealing with family issues, let your manager and colleagues know, and get their full support.  It’s okay to demand some “you” time.
  3. Use technology to your advantage. Technology should help make your life easier, not control it.  Ban technology at certain times so that you can focus on your family or friends.  Our world completely relies on checking our Snapchats and Instagramming our favorite selfie, but make sure you don’t forget to carry a real, face-to-face conversation with those closest to you.
  4. Telecommute. Telecommuting a few times a week could help free up valuable hours.  You’ll be able to focus on work for long stretches at a time and use the extra hours to meet personal responsibilities.  Make sure you ask your boss first, though.
  5. Learn to say “No”. My favorite!  Say it with me…”No.  Sorry, I can’t.”  Remember that you can respectfully decline offers to run the PTA or serve on an extra committee at work.  When you stop doing things out of guilt, you’ll find more time to focus on the activities that truly bring you joy.  You can’t do it all.
  6. Fight the guilt. Another good one.  Superwoman and Superman are fictional characters. Real people can’t devote 100% to everything they do. Stop feeling guilty if you miss an occasional soccer game or bail on a colleague’s going-away party.
  7. Rethink your idea of “clean”. Unmade beds or dusty moldings are not signs of failure.  Try to get used to a little messiness and spend more time enjoying your life.  If you can afford to outsource help, pay someone else to clean your house.  Don’t waste time on things that other people will probably not even notice anyway.
  8. Protect your private time. Allow yourself to daydream at the red light (but not too long!) or appreciate good weather on your walk to work.  If you don’t allow yourself pockets of personal time, you’ll become too burned out to fully appreciate any part of your life.  Sometimes it’s okay to be selfish.
If you have ever traveled outside of the U.S., you will quickly agree that America is not the best country when it comes to a work/life balance.  We work way too much, don’t have enough vacation days, and find ourselves burned out on a job within the first six months.  We may not be able to change our society or work culture, but we can very well grab a hold of our personal rights to dreams and decisions.  It really comes down to what the priorities are in your life; if you are a parent, you will do whatever it takes to get to your child’s recital.  If you’re single, you may want to just relax and go to Happy Hour after work.  Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, don’t let any stress or demand take that away from you on a consistent basis.  It may even come down to a re-evaluation of your job or even your personal choices.  Are you too lax at work and never get any work done?  Or are you too busy at home on the laptop when it’s movie night at your house?  All of our work/life balances will look different.  What does yours look like? Leave the office for lunch.  Take a few minutes to chat with a friend at work.  Don’t stay until 8:00 p.m. every night – Stop. Being. A. Workaholic. Go outside, enjoy time with friends, be spontaneous and try something you thought you would never do. Get a life. Articles: http://the-not-so-straight-professional.com/2014/04/22/young-professional-101-creating-a-worklife-balance/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/04/18/8-ways-to-achieve-better-work-life-balance/ Brittany Baughman is the Community Relations Coordinator at Webster University in Greenville.  She is responsible for the recruitment efforts and public relations activities of the campus.  She and her husband, Jonathan, currently reside in Greenville.

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