As you may have noticed, I’m a big proponent of work/life balance. As a business owner, I make my own schedule and my hours can be sporadic. Sometimes I will work really late, other days I’m done by 5. It all depends on my workload, social schedule, and if I’m feeling burned out. The latter, feeling burned out, is what I’d like to cover the most here. In the beginning stages of my career and business, I did take myself to that burn out stage way too often. In essence, it is what helps make you successful -to an extent. My over-nighters were numerous. Working till 2, 3, 4am was the norm, especially when StyleFox was in the technical development stage. I don’t doubt that I will have to do that again at some point, and I understand that it is sometimes necessary in the beginning and major growth stages of a business. However, it’s not sustainable. You will eventually hit a wall and ironically, your quality of work will suffer as well.
My day to day mantra is to absolutely balance one’s life and work. I workout at least 4 times per week, go out with friends a couple times a week, get outside, travel often, have fun, and I laugh (often hysterically) everyday. (It’s a family/genetic thing.) I make a conscious effort to balance my life and as a result I am rarely overly stressed or worried. In other words, I actually live what I promote here on StyleFox -a healthy, balanced life! And I do this all while getting plenty of work done and being productive. The message here is that you don’t have to be stressed and you don’t have to sacrifice your health/sleep/hobbies to be successful.
After moving to NYC in 2010, I witnessed way too many financially successful, yet completely stressed-out people, who were clearly living at about 20% of their happiness capacity. It was 14 hour days at the office immediately followed by drinks at a bar to numb their stress. It seemed like an unhealthy cycle, and recently the importance or work/life balance has been categorically backed up by numerous studies. A recent study by Accenture showed that over 50% of both men and women define success as having a healthy/work life balance -not a bigger paycheck. I happen to fall into that lot, and I will always prioritize health and happiness. If something is not promoting fun, health, and purpose in my life, I make massive changes or remove the negative factor(s) all together. Here’s why: the things that bring us the most long term happiness are experiences, love/family, and health. Once you start sacrificing any of those three aspects of your life, you start to become less happy, and what is the point of working so hard if you can’t even enjoy your life, hobbies, and the people you love?
Even more, when you are exhausted and burned out your creativity, productivity, and focus wanes. It’s proven that people who work less hours actually get more quality work done. A recent study at Stanford showed that people who worked 55 hours per week got the same amount of work done of those who worked 70. After working 50 hours, productivity drops off and quality of work goes down significantly. While it seems in-vogue to boast about how “crazy busy” we are and how many hours we’re “grinding” out, it’s really not a positive factor to be working yourself into the ground. It’s better to work fewer hyper-focused hours than more tired, distracted hours. Work smarter, not longer. Luckily, companies are becoming more conscious of the benefits of promoting healthy living and work/life balance for their employees. Healthy, rested employees are happier and produce better work. They’re also more likely to stick with the company and have a positive outlook of their job.
So, if you’re feeling dissatisfied and burned out with your job, before you jump ship, it may just be a matter of having a chat with your supervisor and changing your work/life balance. Exercise at least 3 times a week, eat a healthy lunch, spend quality time with your loved ones, pursue hobbies you enjoy, and shut your phone off after a certain hour. Your mind, body AND career will thank you.
photo credit: Ann Cutting