Five considerations to help keep your focus and sanity around work!

Have you noticed there is much discussion about avoiding burnout and achieving work/life balance, but there isn’t a one size fits all option. Are you pulling your hair out about having balance in your life? Key here is knowing yourself. What’s your threshold for feeling out of balance? There have been times in my career where I felt more resilient and focused. There have been other times when I felt more fragile and at risk.

When I was a new Mom, well, that was a high stress time. I had new responsibilities to my baby girl. Both my husband and I juggled our work and lives when she was little. And as other parents recognize, as she grew older and was school age we adjusted. We adjusted to working around a school schedule and still meeting the demands of our employers. It really helped to have good childcare resources that made a difference. Not everyone has that.

Of course, we had times of increased demand at work, but between the two of us we rose to meet the demands – of business travel, of long hours and of the family schedule. However, I’ve spoken with many single parents (and became one myself when my husband died suddenly) and know that without the flexibility of another parent or when there isn’t a great support system – juggling the demands of work and of home can be tricky. I was at greater risk of burnout and had a shorter fuse for work/life balance many times in my parenting years. As work demands increased, I spent more hours working after ‘kid’ intensive hours to get it all done. 

Also, as I contemplated what I wanted to be, what I wanted to do and how I wanted to contribute – those changed with my focus and with my vision of the future. Simply, I outgrew some work. I found myself exhausted by the work rather than energized. That let me reconsider how I was spending not only my time, but my talents.

What were the markers that defined each situation? Let’s dive into five things to consider as you are observing your career ‘balance’ or possible lack thereof.

  1. Are you finding satisfaction in your work? Does that include the volume of work, the time commitment, and your feelings about the outcomes you create. Benchmarks here can be measured by wins. Are you finding your work engaging without being too much – a Goldilocks ‘just right’ most of the time?
  2. Are others finding satisfaction with your work? I always hesitate to have an outside yourself check-in since I believe we defer to the judgment of others in so many ways, but you do have a boss. Are you on the same page as your boss regarding your results? When was the last time you did a check in? It might be time.
  3. Are you getting comments? Do you hear from family and friends that you seem stressed or never available? Again, this is an external measure, but may also be telling from those close in people who love you. What are they observing? What do their observations mean to you?
  4. Are you able to take time off when you need to? Can you do a work around in your schedule that allows you to participate in events that are important to you? Examples might be kids sports, sports you participate in, family needs – especially if you are a caregiver of either young, older or infirm people in your life. Is there time to invest in yourself outside of work with hobbies and special interests?
  5. Are you envisioning a future that you want with your work? Are you meeting goals and objectives that have you tracking with a future you want? Are both personal as well as professional objectives being met? Does your work fit with your life?

I don’t believe that all work is balanced and even. There are busier times and those times when there is more room to breathe. Consider if you are still finding satisfaction overall. You are responsible for managing yourself no matter the events happening around your life and work. It’s true with everything in life and work, there are things you enjoy more than others, be sure that the majority of what you are experiencing tips the needle toward being more satisfied and if not then you know what to do – keep your sanity and get help finding work that fits better with your life. 

Get clear, gain confidence, make it happen – get hired sooner. Stay courageous.

As always, I wish you health and a clear path to offer your professional creativity within a job that’s truly right for you.

Success – at work, at play, every day!