The Relative Importance of Our Jobs
If the pandemic has taught us anything over the past 18 months, it is that the relative importance of our jobs is not what we thought they were, or what we were led to believe. Our income, sure, that’s important, but the actual jobs themselves? With working from home becoming the new normal, lines have blurred between work time and non-work time. Home begins to feel like the office, and many bosses have tried to take advantage of the situation by pressuring staff work longer hours, put in overtime, or be constantly contactable at any time, when many roles didn’t require such constant commitment before. Add home/zoom-schooling kids and social distancing into the mix, and everything becomes even more blurred, and work becomes even more difficult. Even as things start to return to normal, many are still struggling with their work-life balance, in many cases even more so than before the pandemic started.
Quality Time with Loved Ones
Quality family time and time away from work are incredibly important, if not more so than it was before. It can be so easy to bring work home, even if just mentally. We have become used to blurred boundaries between work and life, but how do we separate them again? The best way? Put what matters into perspective and prioritize quality time. When you look back on your life, what do you want to remember? The extra hours you put in at the office while life passed you by or quality time with your loved ones?
Communicate and Learn to Say “No”
The most important way we can achieve that quality time, is to communicate that need with those around us. Explain to your boss that you absolutely need to leave at 5pm to go to your daughter’s parent-teacher meeting. This is especially critical if you are high in the personality trait of agreeableness, as you’ll be prone to overcommitting and will have difficulty saying “no”. If you absolutely have to work late, call your partner, explain the situation, and on a separate occasion maybe discuss with them a limit on how much overtime you will accept when asked to cover a coworker’s schedule, for example. Your time, and the time you spend with your loved ones, is extremely valuable.
Time flies, but You’re the Pilot
At the end of the day, there will always be another job. There will not always be another point in time where your kids are still kids who want to spend time and play with you. Times passes by in the blink of an eye, so make sure you’re in the driver’s seat and taking control of your time. Spend quality time with your parents before the perils of old age catch up with them. Go on date nights with your spouse and work on maintaining a good social life. These are the things that really matter. After all, when the days seem long and the work endless, these are the things that make life worthwhile.