Is Your Life Out of Balance?

Life Is Short

Credit: BrianAJackson@iStock

Time is limited for everyone. There are only 24 hours in the day. Don’t waste it. Life needs balance and it is up to you to find it.

Most Americans spend too much time at work and very little time doing things they love with their families. Making this choice is damaging physically and mentally – and it diminishes productivity at work. Everyone loses – you, your family, and your employer.

Employers Make It Difficult

Missed vacations and no time off is the fault of both the employers and the employees. The average worker-bee gets two-weeks paid vacation; but, many never (or rarely) use it. They  often go to work sick because they believe they have too much to do and it must get done. Unfortunately, that is what most companies expect.

My last company didn’t give sick days. When we were out for illness. We had one free absence every six months. Then, every absence was a 2 point ding – at eight points you could be fired.  If we wanted to get paid, we had to use our PTO (which should be saved for vacation).

Europeans Enjoy Annual Holiday

On the other hand, Europeans enjoy six weeks or more vacation annually – and they take it. It is called holiday.

If they can do it, why cant’ we?

American companies claim to be more productive; but, there is no data to prove that – so maybe not. The one thing that is true, however, is that Europeans seem to have a better handle on work/life balance, which I envy.

Burn-out Is Real

Even if we do have an edge on productivity (and I’m not so sure that we do), there is the job burn-out factor that should be considered. How does that affect productivity?

If you work excessively long hours with no real breaks, your ability to concentrate and your effectiveness diminish. Wouldn’t it be logical to reduce the number of hours worked and set the expectation that employees will take vacation every year?  Wouldn’t that be in everyone’s best interest? I say YES; but, I am not the boss!

Some companies give lip-serve to work/life balance, but few actually do anything about making it a reality.

Corporations pride themselves on being lean-mean machines – and they are exactly that. The operate with razor-thin staffs because of layoffs and cutbacks and the employees pay the price with little or no tine off.

Even if a company offers more time-off to employees, it can be difficult to take advantage of the opportunity because of staff shortages. The job must get done and the company expects the employees to do it. If that means no time off….so be it!

Find a Company that Cares

If you are working crazy, long hours, you may want to consider changing jobs, Look for an employer who is more employee friendly.

Smart companies understand the importance of reasonable working hours and paid vacations. They implement and enforce policies that support that philosophy. They know that the right mix of home and work life will recharge employees so they can be more productive. http://www.flickr.com/photos/seemoredomore/4496729460/

Another alternative is to become your own boss. Use your unique talents and the skills you have developed over the years to start a business.

As your own boss your biggest problem will be YOU – your willingness and ability to manage your time wisely. You will be the one responsible for creating a healthy work/life balance.

No job and no amount of money is worth ruining your mental or physical health – or losing your family.

You must learn to relax and enjoy yourself. Life is too short to spend it all working.

Start today to find ways to balance your life. 

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All Work and No Play….Are You Guilty?

12 Steps to Managing Your Time

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