has work has taken over your life? do you spend almost all of your waking moments at work? or at home doing work? or thinking about work, even when you are not at work? or, the worst, dreaming about work? read on.
the first thing you must do is admit that your life has succumbed to work. do you do things you used to enjoy? do you have free time to do anything other than attempt to recover from work and brace yourself for the next day?
the thing is, no matter how important or how interesting the job is [and that's being optimistic about the situation because few fall into that category, regardless of any self-importance imposed on the position], at the end of the day it is in fact a job. a job is not and should not be your life. the job pays the bills, but that is about it.
so, you need to just stop giving work your life.
work life balance does not mean that the balance of your life should be work.
they are not your friends. they do not have your back. and at the end of the day, the job and the people who employ you will only do the thing that serves them best. it’s just a fact of business. now you’re thinking, but they are my friends. it is possible that they are your friends [or some of them anyway]. but really, at the end of the day, the job is the job and work is work and friendships matter very little in that equation. they will do very little for you, your person, your life.
let’s be frank. at the end of the day, they’re all @$$holes only concerned with themselves. so be your own @$$hole. get concerned about yourself.
it is your life. take it back.
stop spending all of your waking hours there. stop spending most of your waking hours there. stop spending more than the actual number of required hours there. it is your life. your life that you will never get back. your moments of happiness that you’re trading and you need to stop. [yes, there is happiness and job satisfaction, but you already have to spend a minimum of 40 hours a week there so soak up those benefits during your mandatory time there and find other things that make you happy during the time you are not required to sell your soul for a paycheck]. diversity of experience is important for a full and enriched life, so go out there and expand your horizons. do things that make you happy. instead of spending all your time at work, go outside. spend time with your family. spend time alone. read. write. swim. hike. bike. drink [though, if you're spending almost all of your waking hours at work, you're probably already doing this... and probably too much of this...]. hang out with your friends. see movies. just live life. that’s why people say that. they don’t say live work. work is not going to bring you real happiness.
do things you want to do.
this includes taking leave. there is no reason you should have significant leave on the books unless you are planning a major trip or have some other leave requirement. other than that, you should take time off. it is your time after all. it is part of the compensation package. if you weren’t meant to have it and/or take it, then they wouldn’t give it to you. you can’t continue to efficiently produce if you don’t take time to re-charge your batteries.
speaking of re-charging your batteries, when you are not at work, don’t think about it. don’t read email. don’t take phone calls. however important you think it might be, there really is very little that is actually that important. your time is your time, so keep it that way. you’re not supposed to do personal things at work, so why should you do work things on your personal time?
it all sounds simple, but sometimes implementation is difficult. so start small. take back your time in small increments [20 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours - all depends on how far you've fallen off the work deep end]. work your way back to the required hours. do things for yourself, for your life, that you enjoy. whatever you do, just start taking your life back. work is certainly not going to give it to you.
[also, recognize the problem might go deeper than all of that. your job may suck. you may work in a toxic environment. or other factors my play in. i'll cover that later. for now, this is something you can control. even if your job/work-place is awful, you can at least control this. you can take your life back, at least in some small way.]