4 Signs that Your Work-Life Balance is … Imbalanced

is your work life balance unhealthy?

These days, the traditional 9-5 is never really 9-5. It seems as though people are spending more and more time at work and even when they’re not in the office, they’re constantly checking their emails or phones. How much time do you really spend working each day? In this day and age when it’s hard to ever really disconnect, we all probably spend more time working than we really should. So what’s the big deal? Doesn’t more work mean more productively? Yes and no. It’ll increase your productivity in the short term but putting in long hours isn’t sustainable for anyone. Having an unhealthy work life balance causes sacrifices and consequences that you don’t really want.

1) Less time with family and friends

Spending less time with family and friends is probably the biggest sacrifice we have to make when choosing to work more. It’s a difficult decision to make because we work more to be able to provide for our families but at the same time, our relationships with them can suffer. Maintaining meaningful relationships should be a top priority in your life. Ultimately, you can make up for missed work but you can’t make up for lost time.

2) Stress & Anxiety

Your health and well-being should be a big priority but often, it’s the first thing people forget about when their life gets crazy. If you’re feeling stressed, anxious, or fatigued because of work, it might be a sign that you need to cut down your hours. The work that you do when you’re tired or ill won’t be your best. Risking your own health to make more money is never worth it.

3) Lack of Personal Time

Having personal time to pursue new passions and pamper ourselves is important to maintaining overall happiness. Working too much can eat into that time. Even if you only have an hour or two to spare each week, be sure to make time for yourself. A little rest and relaxation can go a long way.

4) Burnout

No matter how much you love your job, you can easily feel burnt out when you work too much. Many people don’t see burnout as a real issue but it is. Think about a car- if you don’t refuel, it’ll eventually stop working. Our brains are similar (in a much more complicated way of course). If all we do is work, work, work, we’ll get tired, bored, and restless quickly. Burnout can easily explode into bigger issues, such as dissatisfaction with your job or general unhappiness.

Take a step back and think about how much time you actually spend working. Think about not only the time you spend in the office, but also the time you spend at home responding to emails or drafting a report. Does that number surprise you? If it does, it’s time to reevaluate how efficiently you are actually spending your time. Work to live, not the other way around.

5 Ways to Make Your Work Commute More Productive

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Unless you work from home, you have a commute in one form or another to work every day, twice a day. Regardless of how long or short your commute is, it still sucks time out of your day. According to the Washington Post, the average commute in the US is a little over 25 minutes and approximately 1.7 million Americans spend 90 minutes or more each day commuting. What do you do during your (non-driving) commute? Do you sleep, read, or just sit idly?vA lot of it depends on how you actually commute.

If you drive, you probably won’t be able to do anything but keep your eyes on the road. But if you commute by public transportation, there are many things you can be doing to maximize your time. Here are a few:

1) Read a book

It’s hard to make time to read during the day but it’s something we should all do more. It’s one of the best ways to grow and expand our knowledge. Spend your commute reading the newspaper or a new book. You’ll be up to spend on what’s going on in the world and you’ll also have a few more conversation starters when you’re stuck in an awkward social situation. Technology also makes reading a lot easier nowadays. You can throw everything into your Kindle instead of lugging books around, so you really have no excuse.

2) Listen to Podcasts

Many people spend some part of their commute listening to music, which can be productive on its own since music can get us really pumped up and ready to take on another day. However, an even better way to spend your commute is listening to a podcast. There are literally podcasts for every interest – sports, finance, fashion, technology. You name it and you’ll probably be able to find someone talking about it. It’s a great way to expand your knowledge and learn something new. Podcasts can be easily loaded on your phone or streamed.

3) Write

Writing can be a creative outlet. You don’t necessarily have to be writing poems or novels but try writing a daily journal. It’s a great way to record everything that’s going on in your life and help you remember any special moments (or frustrating ones). You’ll also improve your writing and grammar skills while you’re at it.

4) Check your emails

Get a head start on your emails before you head into the office. Your commute can be a good time to start checking emails and responding to the important ones. It’ll save you a little extra time before you get in. Be careful not to send out too many though – it’s not fun being on the receiving end with 20 new emails right as you get into the office.

5) Reflect

Your commute can be a good time to reflect and refocus too. Think about the past day and the day ahead. What did you accomplish yesterday? What do you want to get done today? Spending a few minutes thinking about this in the morning can really get you started on the right foot.

If you have to commute for more than 10 minutes each way, there are a lot of small things you can be doing to make your time a little more productive. Try something new every week and see what works for you.

The Football Coach Who Never Punts [VIDEO]

What can you learn from the above story?

That football coach wasn’t just being different for the sake of being different.  He analyzed the data. He looked at what worked.  He didn’t rely on anecdotes or commonly held beliefs to guide his strategy.

And, as a result, he won consistently.

Entrepreneurs can do the same.  Analyze your work processes.  Your time management program.  The way you manage your employees.

What about your personal lifestyle?  How can this type of analyses guide the way you eat, the way you educate your children, or even the places you live?

Don’t just do something because it’s the way it’s always been done.  Don’t just do it because it’s the societal “norm.”

Do it because the data shows it works.

What Lessons Can You Learn from Failure?

Don't let failure define you

Everyone experiences failure at one point or another in their lives. Failure comes in different forms and some pills are harder to swallow than others. However, failure doesn’t define you. It’s what you choose to do afterwards that does. There are those people who will let failure stop them from trying again. And then, on the hand, there are others who take it as learning experience.

Think about the last time that you failed at something:

1. Why did you fail?

2. What did you learn from it?

3. How did you apply that learning to what you did next?

4. Did you ultimately succeed?

Many people get stuck at question # 1 — why they failed. The root cause of failure isn’t always obvious and may require a little digging and soul searching. It’s easy to start blaming others but you control the outcome. What could you have done differently? There is always something, no matter how big or small. It doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong, it just means that there’s room for improvement.

After you’ve figured out the “why”, you need to figure out the “what”. What did you learn from it? From every failure or disappointment, there is a key takeaway or a lesson learned to be found. Think of it as a silver lining. It’s an opportunity to grow and learn more about your strengths and weaknesses. It’s not always positive but it’ll lead you in the right direction.

When you’ve figured out what you’ve learned, it’s time to apply that learning to your next step, if there is one. Maybe what you’ve learned is that whatever you’re doing isn’t right for you. That’s OK too. However, if it is for you, take another chance at it but this time, do it a little differently. Learning from you mistakes can be the most important lesson in life, whether it be in your career or in your personal life.

And lastly, after you’ve given it another shot, did you succeed? If yes, then great. Succeeding at something is one of the best feelings in the world and can open another world of opportunities. But if no, then that is fine too. There is always going to be another opportunity to try again. It might not seem like it but you are always in control. You can make the opportunity if you really want to.

Don’t let failure define you because, if you do, then you’ve really failed.

4 Stress-Reducing Tips to Improve your Productivity

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Stress and anxiety can be huge roadblocks to getting things done. Since your mind is constantly worrying about something, it doesn’t have to time or energy to think about the things you actually need to do. While different people respond to stress differently, feeling overwhelmed and anxious can cause you to shut down. Suddenly, having so much to do makes you feel like you can’t get anything done.

While the factors that lead to stress are different for every individual, there are certain factors in everyone’s lives that relate to stress. Controlling these will help manage your stress level and ultimately, increase your productivity.

1) Plan & Prioritize Your Day

Many people underestimate the importance of having a to-do list. Planning out your day can make you feel less stressed because you know exactly what you need to get done and how much time you have to do. The less things that are unexpected, the better. Check out this post for tips on creating an effective to-do list.

2) Sleep More & Eat Well

Often time, stress and anxiety is cause by poor health. Not being in great shape health wise can make you more susceptible to stress inducing factors. To improve your health, get enough sleep every night – at least 7 to 8 hours. Your brain will feel clearer and as a result, be able to process everything life throws at you. Also, remember to have three well-balanced meals a day. There is nothing more important than your health. Are you an entrepreneur with a busy schedule? Check out our recent post about the ultimate entrepreneur’s workout.

3) Delegate Tasks

Even if you are Superman or Wonder Woman, no one is capable of doing everything. Take a look at your to-do. Is it alarmingly long? Do you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done? If so, it’s ok to get a little help. Delegate tasks that you don’t necessarily need to do yourself.  Trying to do too much will just burn you out in the long run.

4) Learn How to Say No

If you’re asked to do something, especially in the workplace, it’s hard to say no. You don’t want to look bad or look like you’re slacking off and not pulling your weight. However, sometimes, it’s ok to say no. You can’t be pulled in different directions without sacrificing your performance. Also, saying yes too much can also be a bad thing. It might seem like you don’t have enough to do. Make sure to set expectations.

There are so many things in our lives that cause stress and we can’t even control them. However, for the things that we can control, take the reins and get the stress out of your life. Not only is it great for your productivity, but it’ll be better for your health and well-being.