If you are working harder and feeling the pressure more than ever, you are not alone. With the economy looking less than swell, most of us are working harder and harder just to keep up. So, when we head for home, it’s a good idea to leave your work behind you.
The trick is to work hard, make money and still maintain balance in your life. Plus, taking that day of vacation, or even an evening out, and forgetting about work completely is the best way to clear your head, recharge your batteries, and keep your business humming.
Here are six techniques to help you leave work behind and keep yourself sane:
- Recognize the value of leisure. Don’t fight it or fear it. At the very least, see it as “mental maintenance” time. Recommendation: Build work-free days into your business plan.
- Teach yourself how to relax. Many business owners don’t feel comfortable out of “business mode.” Work is their comfort zone, where they feel safest, most productive. Many of us would rather work on a Tuesday evening than go to our son’s holiday concert or find an excuse to go to the office on Saturday rather than attend a niece’s wedding. Recommendation: Learn to think of yourself as more than a businessperson. Not only will it be fun (eventually), but it will also make you fresher and more focused at work (right away).
- Organize and plan your work time. If you eliminate one hour of time wasters a day, that becomes more than six 40-hour weeks a year. Recommendation: Use some of that “found” time for at least one three-day weekend a month.
- Organize and plan your family and leisure time. Work is important; so is family. Recommendation: Set aside one or two family nights a week to play games, go to a movie, have dinner out. Schedule it like an appointment neither you nor anyone else can break. Talk to your family and get their input. Let someone else be in charge. Or try just taking a whole day off and making it a gift to your son, daughter, spouse or friend to do with as they please.
- Teach yourself how to delegate. Yes, you are the brains and lifeblood of your business. Still, for many overworked, overstressed business people, it’s not so much that they have no one who can do the job, but that they don’t know how to delegate. Recommendation: Either find and train someone who can fill in for you while you are out of the office, or get everything done ahead of time and shut down for a day or two. Start delegating what you can, not just what you must.
- Build a wall between work and home. This trains your mind when to think work, when to think leisure. Recommendation: Don’t bring work home or on vacation. Leave the briefcase at the office or in the car. Bonus: If you force yourself to get all your work done before you come home, you’ll get more done on business time and feel guilt-free when you take leisure time…sort of like getting ice cream if you finish your veggies!
The bottom line: If you’re like most business professionals today, you work hard putting in long hours each day doing what you do best. One of the rewards should be a comfortable lifestyle. Make sure you take the time to enjoy it.
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