We’ve partnered with TED speaker Tracy Brower, Ph.D., MM, MCR, for a Summer Reading Club – using her book Bring Work to Life as a guide. To dig in deeper, we’re answering your most pressing questions weekly on our blog. Here’s Tracy’s fourth response. See last week’s answer and sign up for our reading club.
My personal life has recently interfered with my work life. How can I better structure my time so my performance doesn’t start slipping?
You’re not alone – 43% of Americans report their personal lives interfere with their jobs.
If you didn’t catch this problem before it affected your work performance, you need to acknowledge this slip-up with your leader and teammates. Be open and honest, apologize, and communicate how you’ll correct the issue.
Here are some suggestions to keep personal obligations from intruding on your work:
- Set clear and realistic boundaries with yourself. Set small goals and hold yourself accountable one day at a time. For instance, promise yourself you won’t make personal phone calls, exchange personal emails or check social media at all hours of the work day. Instead, practice smart integration. Set aside 10-15 minutes on your calendar to check-in and respond to anything urgent.
- Be mindful about boundaries on the home side as well. Sometimes, we let personal issues interfere with work because we feel work intrudes on personal. It’s OK to bring work home, but do so during a certain timeframe each night and don’t check beyond it.
- Be present and focused outside work. Satisfy your personal needs as much as possible when you’re home. Manage tasks effectively so you can accomplish them on your own time (and they won’t require your attention during the work day).
- Get support from others. You’ll be less distracted at work if you can lean on your friends, family and colleagues. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, even if you just need a listening ear.
- Take time off. Depending on the number of vacation days you receive, consider taking one half-day of vacation per month. Use that day to take care of phone calls, doctor appointments and other important tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed on the weekends.
- Perform efficiently. Be as efficient as possible at work so you don’t have to take it home with you. Set reasonable expectations for the assignments that come your way and keep your team updated on the deadlines you’ve set for yourself.
About Tracy Brower:
Tracy is a work environment sociologist, author, mother of two and Global Vice President of Workplace Vitality at Mars Drinks. She studies how humans affect their work-life and how it affects them back. Over her career, Tracy has had the opportunity to engage with many of the Fortune 500 companies.