DR. E. CAROL WEBSTER’S
MAKE TIME FOR YOU!
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Original Copyright © 2012
You know things are bad when you’re told to aspire for work-life fit rather than balance. Many companies have lost interest in helping you develop skills to buttress your work life with a healthy balance of personal time, activities, and satisfactions. Instead, they’re providing trainings to tell you what you already know: that you must deal with heavy workloads and make do with what time is left over for your personal life. Take it or leave it. While this stinks, these employers are doing you a favor in scrapping the illusion that they want you to help you attain balance in your life. The challenge is to make sure that the life side of the equation is as uplifting and gratifying as possible.
Accept the New Realities of Your Job
As you are learning in your trainings, the nature of work has changed. The long hours are here to stay, as is the need to cover your workload as well as others’. Doing more with less is not likely to change – even as the economy improves and your company starts to replace positions that were cut years ago. Flexible work schedules and telecommuting may be available to you, but may not fill you with much joy as you are loaded with extra tasks and responsibilities day and night because of the belief that you can work these into your schedule. Don’t let yourself be abused or exploited, but take stock of the realities of your current work/time obligations and accept that this is how it’s going to be – and how it’s likely to be at a new job too, unfortunately. Resolve to maximize as much quality as you can from your personal life.
Kick SuperMom and SuperDad to the Curb
To compensate for feelings of angst and guilt about having to spend so much time on work, you may try to do more for your family and friends than you can really handle. You only have so much free time, so don’t exhaust yourself with a schedule of back to back activities and outings every day and weekend to make up for what you feel is your “neglect” of them when you’re working. And, don’t go broke spending money you don’t have to buy things to show your “love”. This isn’t love, and it can set you up to be controlled and manipulated by guilt. The love is you. The gift is you. So help everyone understand the constraints of your current reality and enjoy a less frantic schedule of time and talk with them.
Put You on the Calendar Too!
The time you spend for yourself should not be just whatever’s left over after everyone else’s needs are met. Schedule time for you too! This means shaking the guilt and feelings of selfishness to select activities you want to enjoy every week and/or weekend. This doesn’t have to be a big thing. Might be taking an hour to decompress when you get home. Take this time before you get home if it’s impossible for you to get a minute for yourself once you hit the door. Pay for the extra childcare or make other arrangements so that you have time to clear your head and your nerves before you hit the fray. Put this time on your schedule and make sure that everyone understands that you’re not available. This is your time. Do the same on the weekend. Block out time for your solo activity and use it! Just as you tell colleagues you’re “not free” when you’re in a meeting, you’re “not free” to family and friends when you’re on your solo time.
The nature of work today means that there’s less personal life for you to seek balance in. Divvy up this time as judiciously as possible without letting guilt drive your decision-making. Enjoy your family and friends and take care of them. But be sure to take care of yourself too!
In observance of Mother’s Day, also enjoy: Say “GoodBye” to SuperMom
About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
To contact Dr. Webster visit online at http://drcarolwebster.com or call 954.797.9766.
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychology Consulting
Mailing Address: 7027 West Broward Boulevard, #262 Fort Lauderdale, FL 33317
Reprint Policy: You are welcome to reprint this article for your personal use and to share with friends and associates.
Contact Dr. Webster to obtain permission for any commercial purposes.