Twenty four hours. That’s all we get. No amount of wishing, complaining, or creative time management will ever change that. Each day contains only so many hours, each week just so many days. Yet the amount of work we must try to squeeze into those hours can be mind-boggling. Not to mention the family responsibilities, household maintenance, social commitments, and life in general.
We sometimes comfort ourselves with the notion that it will get easier as we become more established. Once we’ve landed that corner office or taken our business to the next level. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way. Yes, the work demands change. But it is rarely the case that they become less intense or time consuming.
We must be aware that there are significant risks posed by our over-scheduled, chronically demanding, not-enough-hours-in-the-day lives. When life is imbalanced, relationships suffer, work performance deteriorates, and parenting skills go down the tubes. Potential emotional effects include feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and hopelessness.
What can be done to protect ourselves from burnout in the midst of what sometimes feels like life run amok? The following tried-and-true techniques can help:
The reality is that it will never be easy to balance the demands of work, family, and life itself. Make the most of your time by following the above techniques, and remember to appreciate the good stuff. Find gratification in your work, enjoy your family and friends, take pride in your accomplishments. With the proper balance and perspective, life can be more than simply manageable. It can and should be rewarding, engaging, and at times simply magnificent.
Liz Bywater, PhD, is president of Bywater Consulting Group, an organizational consulting firm based in the Philadelphia area. Dr. Bywater helps her clients dramatically improve individual and organizational performance, resulting in enhanced job satisfaction, maximized productivity, and heightened profitability for the organization.
Dr. Bywater is a specialist in human behavior and behavioral change. She brings her sophisticated understanding of people, relationships, and communication to the corporate environment to help her clients effect meaningful and lasting improvements in job effectiveness. Dr. Bywater writes and speaks on a variety of workplace topics, including the power of collaboration, effective workplace communication, and outstanding leadership. She has been published and has been quoted in the NY Times, Executive Decisions, on Yahoo! Hot Jobs, and more.
Dr. Bywater earned her PhD at the Derner Institute of Advanced Psychological Studies and her AB at Cornell University. She is one of only 100 worldwide graduates of Alan Weiss's Million Dollar Consulting College.