Oh, the elusive work-life balance. If you’ve got it, congratulations. If not, you have my sympathies. We get why you might feel over-committed to your job. We all want to succeed at work – and stay employed in this precarious labor market. But if you see yourself in any of the signs below, it may be time to adjust your priorities.
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Americans tend to think that “productivity” means spending the maximum number of hours at the office. No matter how many studies show that leaving the office for lunch, taking fresh air breaks and working only as long as we have energy will all enhance our productivity, many of us remain chained to our desks at all hours. And if not chained to the desk, we’re checking our work email well into the night. Does this sound familiar? Have you leaned in so far that you’ve fallen over? You may recognize yourself in one -or all- of these top 5 signs your work-life balance is out of whack.
1. Your health is suffering
If you’re always sitting at your desk, you live off bad office coffee and breakfast meeting pastries and you never have time to exercise, you’re probably showing the health effects of a faulty work-life balance. Some companies are catching on, offering health food and gym memberships to their employees. The rest of us need to make sure we’re taking responsibility for our health, by packing healthy lunches and carving out time for exercise. Remember that short, intense workouts are highly effective. No need to despair if you can’t find the time for a 90-minute jog.
2. You’re not sleeping well
Staring at your work email right up until the minute you want to fall asleep? Not a good plan. It’s all about the sleep hygiene. That means avoiding the following things before bed: food, bright light and electronics. The blue light coming from our phones, computers and TVs convinces our brains that it’s daytime, making it harder to transition to sleep time. If you absolutely must look at work email at home or risk losing your job, at least cut yourself off an hour before you want to go to sleep.
3. You’re not making time for social time
Even the coolest co-workers can’t replace your friends and relatives – you know, the ones you used to hang out with before your work life took over your social life. It’s great to have a friendly office (we do at SmartAsset!), but to have real work-life balance you need to make time for social time, with people outside of your job.
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4. You haven’t been alone with your thoughts in ages
Your alarm goes off in the morning, you scramble to get ready, you read work emails on the train to work, work until late and come home to Netflix – or more work emails. Sound familiar? This treadmill doesn’t leave much room for quiet reflection and introspection – and our mental health is taking a hit as a result.
5. You’ve lost track of your other interests
Remember when you used to read novels, follow current events and play in a band? It’s time to dust off some interests and hobbies in the interest of restoring your work-life balance. Those things make you human – heck, they make you interesting, too.
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We know the economy is tough and we’re all under pressure to prove ourselves at work. But if putting in endless face time and email time has left you feeling more like a work robot than an individual, it’s time to re-evaluate your work-life balance. Trust us.
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