This is Part 4 in the Apt Design 2011 Ebook Series – Creating Work/Life Balance.
Click here to get the book and see the whole series.
Putting in 12-hour days. Constantly being stressed about work. Not being able to sleep because you’re thinking about your job. Not spending quality time with your loved ones because you’re always at the office…
No one wants to live like this. Working non-stop is not a life anyone aspires to. The problem is that kind of life can be an easy trap to fall into if you don’t have clear boundaries between your work and the rest of your life.
When you separate work and life and focus on them individually you get better focus, attention and results in each. Not only that, but people deserve a separation between you work and your life.
Customers & Clients
Your clients/customers/employer are paying you for your time, and they deserve to get what they pay for. If you are constantly letting yourself be distracted from your job by making dinner, chatting with friends, or working on your kids Halloween costume you are doing your clients/customers/employer a disservice. Actually, you’re cheating them of what they rightfully paid for.
Clients deserve to have your full attention on their project while you’re on the clock. If you work from home it helps to have a separate, specific space for work. When you’re there you’re at work and shouldn’t be disturbed. But its the same wherever you work. While you are getting paid focus on giving value to the people paying you.
Your family and friends deserve for you to pay attention to them while you are with them too. Continuing to work (so easy to do now with smart phones, laptops and tablets) even while physically present doesn’t fly. It devalues the relationships of the people you’re with. When you’re with your family they deserve all of your thoughts and attention. This is a lesson Henry learned the hard way when his daughter essentially called him “Daddy Who Seems To Be Here But Actually Isn’t”.
Likewise, even being mentally distracted by work can really hinder your experience of life. Practice being present in relationships (your spouse will thank you), conversations and even menial activities. Zone in on who you’re with and what you’re doing.
Know who else it helps when you separate work and life? You.
You deserve to not be working all the time, you deserve to have a life too. If you constantly have work thoughts fluttering in the back of your head while living the rest of your life – doing activities you enjoy – you are robbing those experiences of their full richness. Even if you love your job, be more than your job! Be a fuller, richer person who doesn’t always have to be thinking about one thing. Take a break, get away, relax! You can’t fully do that if you’re work-brain is always on.
Do This Now:
Tonight, spend an entire evening with your family. No work calls, emails, tweets – nothing related to your job. If you need to, schedule it with your boss or your clients – let them know you’ll be unavailable. Completely focus on your family, your friends and yourself.