How not to be a workaholic

Having a strong work ethic can easily alienate your partner and family. At least that is the case – according to author Robert Kelsey – if we are thoughtless or clumsy. Work life and family life can seem mutually exclusive, each often hurting the other. So how do you get balanced involvement in both spheres?

Here are his answers:

1) Juggle one ball at a time.
When at work – be at work. Work with fierce concentration on career-enhancing projects and endeavours but also learn to give the family that similar time and intensity.

2) Zone your headspace.
There is no point being with your family if your head is elsewhere. Timetable your future work tasks, meeting and events before you leave work, not after. If you’re unable to completely switch off at home, keep a small (unobtrusive) notebook for when thoughts and ideas ‘pop up’ – jot them down and then ignore them.

3) Treat your relationship as a project.
Agree family goals and ambitions. Make a point to live them, enjoy them, develop them and have fun. Timetable family time into your schedule. Do this every day – especially evenings and weekends.

4) Communicate and include.
Learn to understand the other’s language and develop a lingua franca that involves tolerance, understanding and – above all – strong communication. Invest in each other’s needs. Involve your partner in your key projects – not just as a passive recipient of information but as a key advisor and participant.

5) Keep the loving gestures coming.
Don’t switch off because you’re distracted or busy. Little gestures of love, consideration and affection score the same points as big ones in your relationship.

*Robert Kelsey is a best-selling author. His latest book is Get Things Done: What stops smart people achieving more & how you can change, published by Capstone, price £10.99.

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