This day is for all of the workaholics out there. It might even be for you there in the HR Department, spending countless hours grueling over that benefits package, or training program. The ones who come into the office at six in the morning, work through lunch, and stay grinding away until the wee hours of the morning. This holiday especially commemorates those who make a habit of it. It has become a key part of American culture to be overworked, overscheduled, and stressed out. Free time has gone down 50% for children in the past few decades and the trends are similar for adults. But, I’m not here to tell you to only work minimal hours because “I don’t want to be too stressed out.” If you’re a Millennial, I guarantee uttering that statement will cue entitled millennial jokes from all around.
Sometimes, you’re going to get stressed out. You’ll need to work an hour earlier, and through lunch to get your client, coworker, or boss what they need. You will need to be CHALANT! So many questions constantly arise when thinking about the idea of a perfect work-life balance. How do you balance it all? How do I really know if I am stressed out? How much work is too much work? Am I even working hard enough? And most importantly, how can you, as an HR professional, encourage a healthy work-life balance for your employees? For starters, this website can show you what stress really looks like. There are some surprising signs, memory loss for example. Now, don’t go getting all stressed because you think everyone at your company is stressed out. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to finding a work-life balance, so we’ve provided a step-by-step plan to help your employees find the balance that works for them. Achieving this balance will help you develop strong leaders, decision makers, communicators and contributors at your organization.
At the end of everyday spend an hour looking over projects. Create a schedule for the following day where you break down your projects into 90-minute increments. If something is going to take longer than 90 minutes, you are far more likely to keep pushing that task towards the bottom of your list. That might lead to a missed deadline or rushed final product.
Understand the distinction. Urgent: You need to do these to keep your job. Not doing these will result in you being fired. Important: Doing this will help you get promoted. They will set you apart from the pack.
You heard me. Schedule it. Right now. Just like you need an annual physical (schedule that too!), you need an annual vacation. People who fail to take vacations each year are 32% more likely to die of a heart attack. Morbid and scary, I know. Take that vacation! You don’t have to spend a fortune, but allow yourself some time to recharge and simply do nothing.
The hour long lunch-break isn’t for everyone, so figure out what works for you. Alternatives include 15 minute breaks throughout the day, or a coffee break in the morning. There is a lot of research (like this, and this, and this) to support the effectiveness of 90-minute work intervals in heightening brain power. Try out a few different schedules and maybe mix it up every few months. You need time everyday to disconnect. I promise every time you will come back ready to jump in and with my more focus and skill.
Find an activity you can do when you notice stress levels are getting high. This might be reading a book, meditating, going for a walk, or taking a coffee break. Avoid screens (TV, Tablets, Phones, Computer, etc.) during this “Zen Time”. Schedule this time on your calendar for an extra dose of accountability.