So….it’s Friday afternoon, you just got paid, and your best girlfriend from college is having her 28th birthday party at one of the trendiest spots in your city. You’ve been working diligently and efficiently all week, and have been looking forward to a night out with the girls for weeks. You have your entire outfit picked out for the evening, including the sexy red-bottomed shoes you purchased for yourself with your holiday bonus. You are ready for the night to begin! At 4:54 p.m., your boss calls you into her office, and tells you that you have been selected to work on a huge project that could possibly catapult you into superstar status, and effectively transform you into a professional goddess! Your boss tells you that the project starts tonight……wait a minute…..TONIGHT!!! What do you do!?
How many times have you Divas experienced a scenario just like this one? As professional women, we are often placed in situations when we are forced to choose between our careers and our social lives. At the beginning of our careers, it is so very important to capitalize on opportunities that will showcase our skills. And once our superiors get wind of how fabulous we are, the opportunities will keep rolling in. Slowly, but surely, we notice that we are spending more time working, and less time partaking in social, non-work-related activities. As professional women, we often struggle to find an acceptable balance between our professional and social lives. The truth is, we need both!
Balance is important. In my experience, when there is too much work and not enough play, you may find that you are unhappy. Work is no longer enjoyable, and it begins to feel like a job…and not a career. On the flip side, when there is too much play and not enough work, you may find yourself in a situation where your work is suffering. And let’s be real, you are no longer and asset to your company when you present an unacceptable work product. You need balance!
Balance can be achieved by doing a few things:
Step 1. First consider the level and quality of work required to be successful in your field. In other words, you should be aware of what your superiors expect of you, and should plan to exceed those expectations.
Step 2. Take inventory of your workload every few weeks or so to gauge whether you are meeting (and exceeding) those expectations. Additionally, you should consider whether you feel under/overwhelmed when doing so.
Step 3. Take stock of the amount of time you actually spend partaking in, and enjoying, non-work-related events. If there is too much work and not enough play, adjust! (Skip to Step 4) Please note that if there is too much play and not enough work, you need to reassess Step 2; chances are you are not meeting expectations (just being honest!).
Step 4. If you find that there is too much work and not enough play, consider different ways to incorporate personal social events into your life. Here are a few things that I have done to achieve an appropriate balance:
- Pick at least one evening during your work week to hang out with your friend(s) and/or significant other. Go to dinner or a movie. Or check out a new art exhibit. Whatever you choose to do, make sure that you leave your work Blackberry at home! And choose wisely!
- If you find yourself working on the weekends (or your typical days off), pick one (or both) evening to do something you want to do. It doesn’t matter what it is! A mani/pedi…a Real Housewives of Anywhere marathon…cleaning your house…whatever makes you happy. The point of this is to make time to enjoy some part of your off days, which is the time you need to relax, regenerate, de-stress, and prepare yourself for another work week.
- Plan ahead. If you know that you have an event on Saturday, make sure that you plan your workload around this event. For example, if it’s Monday, and you have a project due on the following Monday, you should account for the fact that Saturday is not an available work day. Not an option! Saturday is dedicated to getting ready for your event. Hair, nails, makeup, etc…but certainly not work!
- Make time to watch your favorite television shows. There’s something very relaxing about sitting on a comfy couch with an evening snack in tow, and watching your favorite T.V. shows. I tend to DVR most of my shows to avoid watching commercials. It also saves time, which allows me to watch as many shows as possible. I win!
I’m hoping that one or more of these options apply to you. If not, please share some of your tips with your fellow Divas…..we’re listening! And while you’re at it, tell us how you would have handled the scenario presented above. Share Divas!