How to Explain Your Crazy Work Schedule to Loved Ones
For successful people, striving to be the best is part of the job description. Pushing boundaries can be exhilarating, completing the tasks you set can be motivating. It’s great to see your career aspirations come true when you reach a milestone, find a new client, or start a new project.
This post was originally published on the Muse website .
If your career is important to you, you also know that making dreams come true takes sacrifice. Sometimes work can become your number one priority, leaving your personal life in the background. Sharing quality time with loved ones for long hours in the office is becoming the norm.
Finding the right work-life balance is a struggle that every aspiring person faces. Crazy periods at work are inevitable – and while they can be temporary, if you don’t manage them properly, they can hurt your relationship and your well-being. It’s one thing to share your stress with your boss and coworkers during a tough time in the office, but explaining to family and friends that you’re going to be spending more and more time at work can be challenging.
Gone are the weekly happy hours, trips home, phone calls with buddies. The irony is that while a chaotic work schedule means you have less time for those closest to you, it is when you need them most. How, then, do you deal with this ploy of ambition and rally your support system to get through tense times?
Taking a direct approach to the situation is the best way to deal with these conflicting priorities. Take the following steps to achieve a positive balance without alienating those who care about you (and don’t pretend to be a workaholic). Here are three ways to keep your relationship and keep your career and personal life on track.
1. Explain clearly how you can be supported
While you’re all too knowledgeable about the projects you’re working on and your growing to-do list in the office, it can be hard to remember that your friends and family don’t know the details of your workday. Your mind may be busy with work, but your loved ones know nothing about the supplier who ruined your order, or the five appointments you need to prepare for.
When you come home from work tired and anxious, all they see is your closed body language and emotional cues. After noticing that you are stressed, your partner or roommate may do whatever it takes to be close to you, making misguided attempts to help by offering suggestions that ultimately only upset you ( you really should be spending a mental health day! Why not and no? do you try yoga? ). Do they even listen? Don’t they know how urgent the work is now?
Rather than defending yourself or shutting down, share the details of your current workload and determine how he or she can best help you deal with the demands you face. For example, be direct and let your mom know that it would be more helpful if she just listened when you talk about work. If you are usually in charge of housework, delegate certain tasks to someone else and let that person know how much his or her efforts will help you this week or month. This is much more effective than clinging to the fact that no one is helping here.
Having clear communication allows your loved ones to understand your stress, giving you the opportunity to deal with it in a collaborative and constructive way.
2. Outline the basic rules
Defining boundaries is essential to creating space for achieving your professional goals, especially when work conflicts with your personal life. To focus successfully during busy periods, you need to know when to set limits – even with those closest to you.
The key to setting boundaries is to do it firmly but with compassion. During a product launch, you can inform your partner that you will have to opt out of the weekly lunch for a month. Explain why you need extra time in your schedule, how it will help you focus and then focus on the future: include a date when you can return to adding your meals to your calendar. Or, if you usually spend the day in constant communication with your best friend, set boundaries when you can speak fluently so you can give them your full attention during those breaks and work on projects the rest of the time. …
Boundaries become even more meaningful if you’re going to be working from home. Be sure to follow the rules about when you can or shouldn’t interrupt you, and make a commitment to stop at a certain hour to go idle.
3. Manage stress correctly
At home, after a particularly long day at work, you and your partner discuss your Netflix nightly choices. You are offering a comedy. Your partner groans. You go into a rage. How dare she ignore your offer! Why do you always have to watch what she wants? But wait – why are you so pissed off about the TV show?
In fact, a defense mechanism called displacement is involved. It works when we are trying to deal with stress. Displacement is when your mind redirects negative reactions from the true source of your distress to a less dangerous person or object. In other words, to save you from the stress of work (which seems overwhelming and overwhelming), you may overly resent an easier target — often a spouse, brother or sister, roommate, or parent. Displacement can happen when you don’t channel stress in other healthy and constructive ways. And if you have a lot of work anxiety, removing it can lead to a serious fight at home.
If you notice that this defense mechanism is raising an ugly head, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is it really worth the fight?
- Will discussing this now be beneficial for me and for our relationship?
- How would I react if they told me the same thing?
Make a plan for how to properly channel your anxiety through healthy means such as meditation, exercise, or even art.
4. Remember what really matters
Even if you consciously choose work as your priority right now, leave room in your life for fulfilling your social obligations. So, while it might be tempting to give up lunch with a friend to do important work, resist the temptation. Your word is important both in your personal life and in the office.
When you’re in the midst of a busy work time, do a quick perspective check: Why are you working so hard if not to create the life you love? It is important to find meaning and purpose in your career, but this is only one part of a balanced life. Don’t neglect the importance of personal relationships to your emotional health and long-term well-being. It is often worth making certain sacrifices in order to achieve what you want in your career, but not to the detriment of your happiness. It’s okay if you need to lighten your social calendar a little during a busy work period, but don’t abandon all your friends or cancel all your plans in favor of more clocks glued to your computer.
Periods of tension are inevitable, but most often they are temporary. Managing them correctly will ensure that you stay balanced. Ambition doesn’t necessarily lead to loneliness. Be sure to follow the steps above and let your friends and family know that they are the support you need, not the support you left behind.