Your job is important and part of what defines you as who you are. However, in order to be truly successful in life you need to be balanced. After fifteen years in the Information Technology industry, I have learned a few lessons that have helped me maintain my sanity at work.
Key for me has always been to have hobbies and interests out side of work. It doesn’t matter what you do, but you need time away from your work, time away from your family and time that is strictly yours for enjoyment. This blog for example is one of my new hobbies and a way to stretch my mind. For others it might be some board game or even something like Geocaching (Ties into the active life I talk about below). Without hobbies, or at least a time to decompress, I feel that by the end of the week I’m dead and no use to my family all weekend long.
Put family first… This doesn’t mean to be a clock watcher at work, but make sure that you leave your work at work and make time for your family. I have kids and I make sure I’m there for supper almost every night. Make sure that you spend time with your wife, husband, significant other (And watching TV doesn’t count). My life overall runs a lot better when I make sure I give time to my wife and kids.
Active life
This is my #1. If I don’t run, play soccer, rock climb or do something active, I tend to be grumpy and irritable. This is the way I deal with my stress, this is not only something that makes me feel good, but it means that when I’m at work, I can focus on work. Take time a few times a week, look at what is offered in your area and go for it. If you can’t find anything, consider running. Running is easy to get started and cheap… You can also do it anywhere in the world. I’ve traveled quite a bit in life and running is something that you can do no matter where you are (Sometimes it can be hard to find the motivation when its below 25°C and you need the right gear, but you still can do it).
Time for personal reflection
Personal reflection means that I take time for myself, make sure my life is where I want it to be, and if it isn’t, to think about how I can get it to where I need it to be. I know this sounds cliche, but we only have one life to live and I feel like I’d better not waste mine. I love my work, my family and the experiences I have had in my life and taking the time to reflect makes me feel like all those goals I haven’t reached yet are attainable if I stay focused and on course.