Don't Allow Work to Consume Your Life

2/26/2012 9:35:40 PM

There was a time when our economy was driven by manufacturing. In fact, in the town where I grew up, my father and most of my family worked in paper mills. While my father worked very hard and his hours shifted from week to week, when his work was done, it was done. He was able to devote his free time to family and interests by not taking his work home with him.

Today’s workplace is completely different. We are now a service economy in the information age. Much of our manufacturing has shifted overseas where labor costs are lower. Consequently, our work life today is much more knowledge-based and open-ended. While this makes for a more exciting work environment, it does have its downside. We take our work home with us, and, if we’re not careful, it can easily consume our free time.

This is an especially common issue when people are in the early to middle stages of their careers. Unfortunately, it often coincides with when we get married and start a family. Right when we’re needed most as spouse and parent, we allow our careers to take precedence. This conflict is one of the main reasons for the breakdown of marriages today, and the results can be devastating to families.

Don’t get me wrong. Your career will be a key component of your life. However, more than any other aspect of your life, it has the greatest risk of taking over if you’re not careful. This is one of the biggest regrets expressed by those in their later years of life.  Don’t make it your regret. Always remember to stay balanced and invested in ALL areas of your life!

What are some ways you've learned to balance work and life? If you had to share your insights with a young person in your life, what would be the most important points you would highlight? Let us know some of ideas by commenting below; we'd love to hear from you!