Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, September 15, 2023

Career Corner: Finding work-life balance should always be a priority

In today’s workplace, it can’t be overstated how important it is to take care of yourself. Jobs come and go, but you are here to stay.

If you’re not careful, work stress can take a toll on your health and personal life. This is especially true in the United States, where work culture tends to reward those who overwork themselves.

I am a strong believer that for employees with a desk job, we are often able to accomplish just as much work with less time if we are rested. When we work long hours, we may be slower, less creative, and less focused on the clock.

Granted, working long hours can result in more Brownie points. You may impress your boss or co-workers with your dedication. But, will it truly change your path at work?

Don’t get me wrong. Work is important. But, sacrificing yourself will not necessarily have a positive end result. Your health could suffer, and so could your personal relationships.

So, when should you prioritize taking care of yourself over work? You should take care of yourself when you don’t feel well. Whether you have a cold or a serious medical issue, your health is always important. You should take care when your children are sick or are having problems. The same applies when you are going through a pregnancy.

There are times when taking care of yourself is a luxury. You may not always have the ability to prioritize yourself first. I do understand this sad reality. However, there are often times when we have a choice, and we choose work.

You are probably familiar with various famous quotes around work and life. They say that when you die, no one will remember what you achieved at work. They’ll remember what sort of parent or friend you were to your loved ones.

What can you do to make the shift? For one, consider separating your methods of communication. At work, use a work computer, and use a work phone. At home, use a personal computer, and a personal phone. Keep your uses separated.

This relatively small change can make a big difference. It helps to ensure that you aren’t distracted by personal tasks while you’re at work. And, when you’re home, it keeps you focused on your personal life.

Also, try to reduce the peer pressure at work around working outside of work hours. The biggest way that you can do this is by paying attention to your own email habits. In other words, if you do need to work on the weekend for some unavailable reason, try to wait to update your colleagues until Monday. Try not to push out email communications during off hours that will prompt others to begin working.   

Most people agree that taking care of yourself is important. Let’s work together to make it a reality. We’ll accomplish just as much in less time, and with more sleep.

Angela Copeland, a leadership and career expert, can be reached at www.angelacopeland.com.