If you love what you do, do you even need to think about work life balance? It’s a question many CEOs, business owners, and entrepreneurs ask us. The short answer is yes - both you and the relationships that matter to you – need looking after, regardless of how well your work might be going.
We’re not fans of ‘work life balance’ as a term, as it implies that work and life are separate, when in fact, work is part of your life so it’s really to do with thinking about how much of your time you dedicate to the ‘work’ part.
Many people love their jobs (including us!). When you love your work you get much more from it than financial means, it makes you feel fulfilled and as if you are making a difference. Many of us treasure our work relationships and genuinely enjoy those we work with. There is a catch though.
People who love their work are more at risk of relationship breakdown and burnout. They often regret later in life the time they didn’t spend with their children when they were small. When we are all consumed with something, we can understandably take other things for granted - and that’s what someone in their dream job needs to guard against.
Here are our top tips for work lovers to avoid the pitfalls of loving your job:
- Invest time and energy in your intimate relationship if you have one. A true solid partnership is often the cornerstone of a work lovers success. Having someone who can cover for you at home, understand and share in the joy’s and troubles of your work and give you much needed respite and connection is invaluable, but no matter how wonderful someone is it won’t happen if you don’t put in the work. Sadly many great relationships fail through indifference, don’t let that happen to you.
- Take time and make time. Burnout is very common in work lovers and can creep up on you to the point where it’s very hard to come back from. Take time every six months or so to switch off completely. Learn the skills of prioritisation, negotiation and conflict management to help you navigate the tougher times. Make sure you take the time to eat well and exercise.
You may also find this article of help: 3 life hacks to keep your energy up and avoid burnout.
- Get to know yourself and reflect. Use a Coach if this helps to get perspective and carve out time to dedicate to it. If you know yourself well you will understand your own triggers much earlier and can take action, you can also learn to master some of your blind spots - as work lovers are brilliant at self-delusion! You also need to put your head above the parapet every now and then and look at your life as a whole.
You may also find this article of help: Self reflection without navel gazing - is this possible?
- Appreciate the consequences of saying ‘yes’. Remember that by saying yes to something (i.e. working), you are saying no to something else. Are you OK with that? Are there other things you would like to be doing that you are currently neglecting? Are there areas of your life that if you neglect now, you will regret later?
Loving what we do and getting paid for it too. It might sound perfect but the danger lies when the work part of our lives takes over and we don’t even realise. As a consequence, we may be too busy to notice the relationships around us that are suffering – the very stability we need when the burnout kicks in. No one wants to look back with regrets, especially when there are ways to manage the situation.
The solution is almost always time based. Time to focus on that relationship, time to reflect and reframe priorities, time to look after your health and wellbeing. Everyone is different and the key is to find a rhythm that works for you and your life - then you can enjoy the work you love without suffering the pitfalls.
For further information
If you’ve realised that you might have some time challenges of your own, our Time Mastery programme will help you assess and understand - and take back control. We all have an equal amount of time, it’s what we manage to achieve with it that really counts. And, if you are feeling that the lines between work and life are more blurred than you thought – our Employee Wellbeing programme will help you learn straightforward practical steps you can incorporate into your life.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.