Work stays in the office, and personal life stays out of the office – this is work life balance, right?
In our hyper-connected world, the line between personal and professional life does not really exist. Your colleagues learn all about you through Facebook. Your boss is sitting in his office reading your Twitter feed. And your kids Google you up as soon as they learn how to type your name.
This blurring of relationships and responsibilities takes skill to navigate. The good news is that you can manage your personal life to have a more productive career. Here’s how:
1) Mix Up Your Personal and Professional Lives
Have you ever had breakfast at a ritzy place in New York’s Upper East Side? If yes, you know the deal. Men in suits casually pretending to eat $14 bowls of oatmeal! What are they really doing? Actively strengthening their business networks.
Fall into the habit of keeping your work life and your personal life separate and you are likely to miss out on opportunities. Know that your work life will bleed into your personal life and vice versa. Use it to your advantage. The stronger your relationships with the people you work with, the more productive your career will be in the long run.
2) Treat Your Personal Life with the Same Respect That You Do Your Professional Life
Scheduling in time for socializing and relaxing helps you to be more productive while you are working. This is because you do not have to worry about missing out, burning out, or neglecting social responsibilities. You have already carved out time for everything that you need to do, so you are free to focus on working while you are at work. You are also more likely to get all of your work done on time when you are truly committed to honoring your personal obligations.
Treating your personal life with respect can also have the additional benefit of helping to do your job better. Talking with people can lead to you learning information that you can use in your current role, and relaxation helps promote creativity. So make time to kick back with your friends and take some personal time. In the long run, they are both productive activities.
3) Know Your Personal and Professional Priorities and Be Decisive
There are only 24 hours in every day. At times, you will not be able to complete all the tasks that you wanted to complete. Work is important, but it will not always be the priority that wins out.
Actively managing your responsibilities is a valuable skill. Know which commitments you can push to the next day, or forgo altogether in every 24 hour period. Know that personal priorities will take precedence from time to time, and work priorities will take precedence from time to time. Get comfortable with letting some things go. Remember, you have the power to decide what needs to be done every day, and it’s not always as simple as putting work first.
Managing your personal and professional lives effectively requires some investment in thought and organization, but becomes easier with experience. So take advantage of the gray areas between work and personal life, honor your personal commitments, and exercise decisiveness with your personal and professional priorities. There will not always be clear cut answers, but you will know you are doing well when you can see that you are making decisions that will help you achieve your real goals.
by Christine Arce-Yee