We love our smart phones. They provide a constant connection to the Internet and to each other. However, they also give us the ability to be constantly connected to work. Many people are finding it more and more difficult to separate their work from their personal lives, which leads to several different problems.
Whether you work remotely full-time or you’re expected to check emails every night, you probably struggle with your work-life balance. We’ve come up with five tips for dealing with the demands of working in our modern world of constant connection.
Measure Your Workload
If you’re worried you might be working too much, you probably already feel stressed and overwhelmed. There are other signs that you are working too much, too.
One of those telltale signs is forgetting tasks. If you have too much on your plate, something’s going to slide off. Then you’ll be left cleaning up the mess that the forgotten task has created, which just causes more work for you.
Take an unbiased look at your workload. How much work have you agreed to do? How much of it is extra or not related to your job description? How much of it do you think goes beyond the scope of what you can handle?
Measure your workload. Estimate how much time it will take to complete the tasks that you’re currently expected to do. Find out if there are enough hours in the work week for you to complete them all.
When you measure your workload, you help discover just what is taking up the biggest chunks of your time. Having a clear picture of your workload will help you better understand the problems you’re experiencing.
Evaluate Your Health
Too much work can absolutely affect your physical and mental health. When you’re stressed because you don’t have enough time or the ability to complete what you need to do, then you’re more likely to make poor choices.
For many people, the first thing to go out the window is healthy eating. Overworked employees don’t have the time or energy to stick to a diet or prepare healthy meals. We eat from the vending machine or grab takeout at the end of an 11-hour day. Sometimes we resort to overconsuming alcohol or using substances to take the edge off after a stressful day or week.
Needless to say, these unhealthy choices cause serious issues. Even unhealthy eating, which seems fairly harmless, can lead to major health problems down the line. These physical issues also affect mental health.
When mental health issues are ignored, serious problems occur. If you have too much work on your plate, you could suffer from much more than simple stress. More serious anxiety and depression are possibilities, and you could eventually suffer from burnout.
Ignoring how you feel about work can make everything worse. If you have too many tasks and not enough time, you could end up resenting your coworkers, your supervisors, and even yourself.
It’s important to regularly evaluate both your physical and mental health while you’re at work and at home.
Make A Plan
Measuring your workload and evaluating your health are the first two crucial steps you have to take before you make a plan. Yes, we know we’re asking you to add another item to your to-do list. However, taking the time to follow these steps will help reduce your workload and your stress in the long run.
Figure out when you’re going to accomplish your tasks each day and each week. Write down these items on your calendar. That means literally setting aside time to finish projects before their due dates.
Take the time to schedule healthy meals and exercise sessions. You also need to prioritize “me time,” when you’ll do what you love the most, whether that’s reading a book, watching a movie, or having a game night with friends.
Once you’ve made your schedule, ask yourself how realistic it is. Make any adjustments that you think are necessary.
Talk To Your Supervisors
You know you have too many tasks on your plate. You’ve measured your workload and found out just how much is expected of you. You’ve also evaluated your situation to determine what you can actually accomplish without damaging your health. You’ve made a solid plan.
Now it’s time to talk to your supervisors. Show them the data you’ve collected and the plan you’ve created. Prove to them that you’ve been doing more work than should be expected for someone in your position. Ask them if there’s anyone else who can handle the tasks that don’t fit your job description or shouldn’t be part of your role.
Be direct and do your homework before you begin the conversation. Showing your supervisors that you know exactly what you’re talking about will go a long way.
Most reasonable supervisors will assess what you’ve brought to them and agree to make some changes. However, you are still responsible for staying on top of your own workload. As time goes on, you need to consistently check in to make sure that you’re not falling in to the same trap as when you were overworked before.
Schedule a monthly meeting with yourself to measure your workload and evaluate your health. Take stock of the days where you feel stressed and overwhelmed. Your health and happiness are more important than any job, especially a job that is continually dragging you down. Keep checking in on your workload. Be your own best advocate so you can enjoy your life!