5 Tips for Creating Balance in the Work Place
As a Masters student in the psychology program, i was taught alot of things about people, interactions, human behavior and the necessary tools i would need to be competent at my job. All the information taught to me were important, however it was not until i actually started working full time that i realized the lack of information given on how to balance it all. As a novice in my field, i am and will always be at a place of humility, because that is exactly how we thrive, when he understand our need to learn and continuously be taught important lessons.
Recently a graduate student asked me advice on surviving in our field and in the work place. My number one tip to her was to learn how to ride the wave of balance. Strange i know, but in most professions trying to work from an even balance existence is impossible. Workloads change, hours get cut, personnel changes all happen and throw all that off balance, if the goal is equally shifted equilibrium. Its impossible. Think of a surfer balancing on a surfboard, the goal is to stay on the board and ride the waves and not wipe out. The same should go for balance at work, to balance is to ride the waves of change and not to wipe out. With that said, here are my five tips to not wipe out in the work place.
Set Boundaries. Whether you have your own office, or a cubicle, setting boundaries is imperative to creating balance at work. In your work space it can mean having your available hours posted on your door, or avoiding social common areas at work that are time wasters, and invite unproductive conversations into your work space. For me personally my top two boundaries set, were not checking emails after my allotted work time, and that also means verbalizing that i do not check emails or deal with work related non emergency issues after 3:00 pm. Second is to not give out my personal number. This is a huge one for me. Giving out your personal number can welcome a floodgate of calls and text at all hours of the evening and night. Only give your number to work friends who you trust will only contact you for social gathers not work related issues.
Learn to prioritize. One of the biggest lessons i learned as an intern years ago, was the importance of prioritizing my needs. By this i mean eating lunch and taking breaks. I am always surprised how easy it is to go full throttle all day, only to crash out because of exhaustion and hunger at the end of the day.When we prioritize unhealthy habits, we set ourselves up for failure. The same goes for taking a break. Learning to recognize when you have hit a wall is an important factor when you have a deadline to make. For me its going outside for fresh air, or taking a trip to a coffee shop. Whatever it is learning to prioritize your needs can change your day and make you more productive.
Multi tasking is not your friend. As great as we women are at multitasking and getting it all done. It can sometimes be counterproductive . When we multitask we are stretching ourselves to reach and accomplish all of our goals at once. For some people it works great, but for most of us stress out Americans it only causes more stress. To simplify your day, make a list and tackle each item one at a time. Use your energy to work smart not harder, focusing on one thing and completing it feels far better than getting small chunks of things done at once.
Find a routine and stick to it. This brings me to my next point, create a routine that works for you. For me, writing helps me stay focused, and i feel more organized if i write down my daily to do list in a notebook, than if i do a mental checklist or if i use my phone. Writing my To do list at the start of the day is just one part of my routine, taking a brunch break and eating lunch is also a part of my routine. I know it sounds strange to say eating lunch is part of my routine, but it is. Eating is important, it gives me energy for the second half of the day. Take the time to think about your work day, and pay attention to the recurring events and create a routine that can make your day run as seamless as possible.
Learn how to communicate. A huge part of my job as a psychologist is communicating with my team members. I have to send our many emails, and make many phone calls. Basically i do alot of communicating and i have learned how to perfect it. Communicating is a skills, just like sending our a clear and direct email is a skill. As professionals when we send out an email, when we talk to a colleague or client the way we communicate our thoughts and ideas gives those we interact with an idea about our level of professionality. Your tone, eye contact, and body language are all part of communicating. One rule i live by is that i need to present my self verbally and non verbally in a way that makes the person i am interacting with feel comfortable and trust what i am saying. passage aggressive behaviors have zero place in the workforce, and can cling to your reputation like lint. If you think this is a skill you need to work on, talk to a trusted adviser, or colleague about how you can improve your interpersonal skills. Learning how to communicate will benefit your everyday interactions at work, and also carry over to your personal life. I think this is a win win.