How to Maintain a Positive Work Life Balance
Five Tips for Juggling the Demands of a Career with a Healthy Personal Life
In this, the era of social media and smart phones, where clients, co-workers, friends, and family members alike can communicate across the globe and at any time of day, maintaining a positive work life balance can be challenging. “It was a big problem for me,” confesses Ryan Tevepaugh, a real estate entrepreneur and father of small children. “I was always working. It was pathological. Every spare moment I had, I dedicated to my career. Then, one morning I woke up and realized that being forever on the job was straining my relationship with my family and taking a toll on my health. Some changes had to be made. But going full-tilt was all I knew.” Tevepaugh goes on to describe how, through a serious amount of problem-solving and introspection, he was able to rectify some detrimental habits and change his situation for the better. “It took a lot of asking myself hard questions, a lot of thought, and a lot of trial and error, but I finally found a formula that works well for me. I hope that, through sharing it, it can benefit others as much as it’s benefited me.” Here is some useful advice for juggling the difficulties of a career with a healthy personal life, courtesy of Ryan Tevepaugh.
“The first step, necessarily, is to identify your priorities. This is essential, as it will dictate how to proceed in every other aspect of your life,” he explains. “For me, it was spending quality time with my family, my own health and well-being, and my career — in that order.” Tevepaugh proceeds to clarify that for others, depending on their situation in life, priorities may be drastically different. “Someone who’s single, say, may prioritize a nightlife. Someone working a day job while harbouring thoughts of a career change may prioritize taking classes at night. It depends on who you are.”
Once you figure out what you want out of life, a plan must be developed to achieve it. A crucial component to that plan is effective communication. “Be open and honest about your priorities to your family, co-workers, and superiors,” says Tevepaugh. “If you need to get to the ballpark to see your child’s Little League game by a certain time on a certain day, make sure you make all those affected aware of that fact ahead of time. You’ll be surprised how understanding people can be.” In other words, don’t just shout “Work life balance!” and zip out the exit.
Flexibility is a Two-Way Street
“A simple but effective tip is, when you’re able to, do favours for your co-workers, boss and company. Come in early when asked. Cover for a sick colleague. When the time comes, as it inevitably does, that you need to leave the office early, or take an entire day off to deal with a personal matter, it will be looked upon far less harshly.” In short, what goes around comes around, especially in a workplace setting.
Limit Late Work Nights
“Despite what self-help gurus and lifestyle guide books may have led you to believe, nearly everyone with a serious career will have to work late from time to time,” states Tevepaugh. “To expect otherwise just isn’t realistic. But, on the other hand, for supervisors and companies to expect an employee to work late multiple times a week isn’t realistic, either. The key is to identify when working late is critical, and when it would be merely helpful to a given project,” he asserts. “If it would be merely helpful to sacrifice your evening for the project, the healthy choice is to say ‘no’.”
Unplug During Important Personal Moments
“This is the simplest and most effective piece of advice I can give to people: know when to unplug. Period. There are special times in life, be it a child’s dance recital, or a wedding anniversary dinner, or what-have-you, during which answering a phone call or replying to a text can be truly intrusive.” Tevepaugh elaborates that dealing with business during what is supposed to be quality time with loved ones belittles and devalues the situation, and can alienate friends and family. “These moments are what’s important in life. Don’t ruin them by being perpetually on-call.”
Ryan Tevepaugh is a real estate entrepreneur and a graduate of Trinity Christian College, which he attended on a baseball scholarship. He currently resides in Cleveland where he manages an extensive property portfolio.