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The Search for a Healthier Work/Life Balance

How IT Professionals Can Restore Harmony In Their Lives


IT workers have undoubtedly converted sweeping ideas into reality for business of all sizes. With their hard work, dedication and long hours, there is a price that many pay- a lack of work/life balance.

Some argue that IT professionals have made a greater contribution to the revolutionary changes in the American economy than any other group of workers in the past decade. By making it possible for the Internet to become an accessible global network of real-time communication and information retrieval, for network computers to allow collaboration throughout the workplace, and for employees to be productive from remote locations all over the world, IT professionals have converted sweeping ideas into reality for businesses of all sizes. However, these extraordinary changes have a price attached to this focus and dedication. IT workers have become the “poster children” for hard-charging, tireless professionals who sleep at the office and work impossibly long weeks on the job.

Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising that IT professionals are becoming increasingly frustrated with imbalance between their personal and professional lives. They’ve accomplished great things in their jobs, but a number of them have grown disillusioned with the lack of time they have invested in nurturing their personal lives in the process. Many wonder if they will have to choose between a destiny of enduring this frustration throughout their careers or just leaving the professional altogether.

If you’re in this category of IT workers seeking a healthier work/life balance, take heart: there is a third way. Here are some simple things you can start doing now in order to strike a better balance in your life and ensure that you feel more personally fulfilled while maintaining enthusiasm for your career at the same time.

1. Track Your Time for One Week:

Keep a log of all your activities, including work-related and non work-related activities. Take a look at your list and decide what items are necessary and which ones give you the most satisfaction. Then start cutting out, reducing or delegating everything that’s left on the list.

2. Don’t Overbook Yourself:

Many IT workers try to cram as many things as possible into every workday, but the problem with this seemingly diligent ethic is that things rarely go according to your agenda on any given day. The result is that you spend half of your day chasing down things that popped up and then over-extending yourself trying to get your original list finished.

3. Be a Ruthless “Prioritizer”:

Train yourself to use the sharpest knife possible when it comes to trimming the secondary stuff that comes up in your day, both work-related and home-related. If you treat everything as an urgent priority that must be met as soon as possible, you’ll wind up drained every single day.

4. Learn How to Say No:

One of the biggest hurdles that can get in your way of protecting work/life balance is recognizing that you don’t have to agree to every request that is made of you. Once you start weeding out things that you just shouldn’t be adding to your daily list (see tip #1 above), you’ll be amazed at how saying no to one thing opens the door to saying yes to something else – from cleaning out your files to getting a good night’s sleep.

5. Take Advantage of Your Resources:

Many employers offer flex hours, a compressed work week, job-sharing or telecommuting for their IT professionals. The flexibility that comes with these sorts of options can alleviate stress and free up some more time for your personal life.

6. Manage Your Time:

This one is a toughie for many IT workers, but the fact is that you need to organize your home schedule just like you do your work schedule. Get your household tasks done as efficiently as you can, consolidate the number of trips you need to make to the store each week, and keep a clear family calendar of “to do” items in order to reduce deadline panic.

7. Nurture Yourself:

Fight off the guilt by remembering that it’s okay to have a job and a family, there need not be a conflict between the two on an ongoing basis. Set aside time each day for one thing you enjoy – walking, exercising, listening to music or reading.

8. Don’t Forget to Re-Create:

One night a week you should take the phone off the hook, power down the computer and shut off the TV. Discover recreational activities you enjoy doing with your friends or family members, such as playing golf or board games – and you’ll find yourself rejuvenated.

9. Get Enough Sleep:

There is nothing more damaging to your work/life balance than trying to get through a busy day when you’re already sleep-deprived. Running on little sleep is dangerous, unhealthy and leads to more mistakes that you’ll have to fix later.

10. Know that Life will Never be Perfect:

Finally, it’s important to remind yourself that time management and life balance is not an exact science. No matter how hard you try and how much you focus on trying to get it right, there will always be something you wish you would have done better.

For more information about XSell Resources call 215-706-4500 or Contact Us.

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