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Extreme Workers

September 9th, 2007 · No Comments

How many hours a week do you work? Is your job a priority over your health and relationships? If so, you may be one of a growing number of extreme workers, those who may put in 70-120 hours a week, are always available to their clients, and often have an irregular work patterns and heavy travel schedules. While this sounds, well, extreme, it is in part thanks to continually improving communication technologies and increasing pressures to succeed and not get replaced by someone willing to go the extra 15 miles. This new style of worker is growing fast. Unfortunately, this work ethic comes with a price. Based on a study by Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Carolyn Buck Luce, published in the Harvard Business Journal (12/2006), “69% of extreme workers said they were sacrificing their health and relationships, and 36% said they could not sustain that lifestyle for more than a year” What this demonstrates is that no matter how strong your organizational skills are and how dedicated to family, if you cannot achieve a good work / life balance, you will suffer some sort of loss. There are several ways to get back on track with your personal priorities. Your first step should be to decide that you will work a manageable number of hours each day or week. Secondly, remember to set clear boundaries regarding your schedule. For example, check your email in short blocks of time rather than continually through the day and handle your non-urgent phone calls the same way. Before leaving the office, know what your priorities are for the next day. While flexibility is important, you should have a routine that can be upheld on a daily basis. If you have a large number of direct reports, then examine what meetings and projects can be delegated. When you get home, especially after traveling when it is tempting to try to “catch up,” set aside time later in the evening to give attention to your work, but first focus on yourself and your family.

The work itself may be rewarding, but if it results in an unhealthy lifestyle without a balance between business and personal lives, you may not be working at top productivity levels and you may not be attending to your personal and familial needs.

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Tags: Work Life Balance