Today’s post is written by Eric Friedman, founder and CEO of eSkill.
We spend a great deal of our time and a large part of our lives working. Spending so much time in the office, it’s no wonder we sometimes see our performance affected by our emotions and whatever we are going through in our outside lives. Our work life affects our personal life, and vice versa—we may try to leave work at the office and our emotions at home, but it doesn’t always work that way. What happens to us outside of the office can have a great impact on how we behave inside the office.
Our emotional state can affect our work in many ways. Research has shown that happy employees tend to be more productive, and they’re more engaged with their surroundings. In a workplace setting, that means being a more active part of the team and contributing new ideas. Positive personal events—like getting engaged or married, or having a family member recover from an illness or a child accepted to college—affect our emotional well-being and can lead to increased productivity at work.
Similarly, when our personal life is affected by tragedy or sadness—divorce, the loss of a job, the illness or death of a family member or friend—our work is affected too. Yet although it may seem strange, grief can also be a motivator. In some cases, people who find themselves grieving dive into their work as a distraction. Grief can also make people dedicate more time to their work as a way to get back to normalcy, a way to move on. A sad or tragic personal event can also make us rethink our priorities, leading us to switch jobs or careers, to perhaps find something we find more enjoyable or meaningful, and will therefore be more motivated to do well in.
The line between our personal and professional lives is thin and permeable. Whether we feel happiness or grief, it’s important to achieve a balance so that our positive emotions can help us succeed, and to minimize the effects of the negative ones. Here are seven tips for achieving balance and remaining productive in our work, no matter what is going on in our personal lives.
- Set boundaries. One of the most important ways to achieve a work-life balance is by setting boundaries. Our personal and work lives are more interconnected now than ever. We read our work emails at home on our mobile phones, and we check our Facebook accounts at the office. Setting boundaries to limit these activities allows us to enjoy both more fully and productively.
- Team up. Whatever life throws at you, it’s nice to know you have people who will be there to support you, to cheer and celebrate with you in the good times, or to help and comfort you in the bad. Most of us have these support teams in our personal lives (family and friends) but it’s important to also have support teams in our work lives. Our coworkers can provide new perspectives, and we can gain a lot from helping each other out.
- Make “me” time. Like setting boundaries, making time for you is critical to achieving a more balanced life. Whether it’s taking a break from emails and phone calls at the office by going for a short walk, or sitting in your most comfortable chair at home to read a great book, making time just for you can help you sort through your thoughts or even just unplug from it all when you need to.
- Leverage your strengths. Knowing what our strengths are can help us feel more satisfied and energized. When we play to our strengths, we tend to be more productive and effective, whether it’s at home or at work.
- List priorities. What happens to us in life, whether in the office or at home, can affect the way we look at things. Keeping even a mental list of our priorities can help make sure we are still on track with our goals. If something shifts due to a life-altering event, we can revisit that list and actively make changes that will help us remain engaged and happy, both personally and professionally.
- Talk to HR. We are all different and our needs vary. Our work needs can change after a personal event, like the birth of a child or a family illness. When personal matters are affecting your work life, talk to your HR department. There may be ways your company can help you better balance your life and work needs, such as offering flex time, alternative work hours, or working from home options.
- Take time. No matter what the reason, when you need it, you should take time off. If you just got married and want to go away for your honeymoon, or if a relative has passed away and you’re dealing with grief, it’s important to take the time you need for the things that are affecting you emotionally.
There’s no one perfect way to ensure we are always happy in our personal lives and always productive in our work lives, because there are always ups and downs in life. The thing to remember is to try to be flexible and conscious of family and work needs and the fact that they may change, so that we may have to change as well.
Eric Friedman is the founder and CEO of eSkill Corporation, a leading provider of online skills testing for pre-employment assessment and benchmarking. Eric has degrees in Psychology and Business, and a fascination with matching people with roles they’re best at, and that they enjoy.
A company built on exceptional talent from Internet technology, test development, and iterative product development, eSkill leads as an independent assessment company helping HR departments with relevant and accurate job-based tests.
To learn more about Eric and eSkill, visit the company website at www.eSkill.com , or contact him on LinkedIn.