It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my career. Telling your employer you need more “me time” outside of work is never easy. You don’t want to seem like you’re a lazy worker or that you can’t keep up with the job. It’s important, though, that you learn to strike a balance between work and home since your personal brand is at stake.
Let’s say you’re constantly being given new responsibilities at work. That’s great. It’s your chance to shine. But when you’re staying late, working weekends, and skipping lunch in order to keep up, something’s wrong.
A funny thing happens when you’re always volunteering to stay late or work weekends–it becomes the norm. This behavior is expected of you because it’s what you’ve always done. It’s fine to put in the extra time and effort occasionally– you should be doing that. But when you find working late is the rule and not the exception, it’s probably time to rethink your situation.
A young guest speaker from a public relations firm visited my class last year and shared advice I’ll never forget. She told us that she’d been in our shoes – young, eager to learn, and wanting to make a good impression at work. She then stressed how important it is to take care of yourself in the process. If we don’t learn to draw the line between work and our personal lives, burnout is probably not far behind. And when we’re burned out, our productivity and motivation go out the window. How’s your personal brand looking then?
Having a healthy work/home balance actually improves effectiveness in all areas of our lives. Below are some tips to help you get there.
This is such a hard one, especially for young employees eager to make a good impression. But if your boss is constantly asking you to work late nights, there’s nothing wrong with saying “no” once in awhile. You have a life outside of work. Explain respectfully why you’re unable to work on a project over the weekend. If you’re producing quality work consistently, your boss should understand your position. Check out this article for more ways to keep control over your life.
You’ve been trusted with a new project at work on top of your other responsibilities. It’s a great way to stand out and get noticed. Just make sure you’re asking for help from coworkers when needed. As this article points out, building downtime into your schedule is necessary to recharge your creativity and productivity.
Leave work at work.
That means giving yourself permission to not open your work emails at home. It means if you’re out with friends, why don’t you turn off your cell phone–if being on call isn’t a job requirement. The boundaries between work and home are blurry, which is why you must define them.
Probably all of us want our personal brand to be seen as hard-working and dedicated. Just remember: making time for ourselves and requiring others to do the same speaks volumes about our brand as well.
Amanda is an account executive at MarketWave, a marketing and public relations agency in Addison, TX, where she works on everything from media relations to writing and editing client materials. Prior to MarketWave, Amanda worked as a publications intern atSouthwest Airlines before hired on with the company and working full-time at the airline for two years. Amanda gained experience writing for Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine, Spirit, while working on her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North TexasMayborn School of Journalism. She’ll graduate in August 2011 with a degree focused on strategic communication and a minor in marketing. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalistsand is passionate about traveling, writing and nonprofit organizations. Connect with her on Twitter (@amgleason) and LinkedIn.