“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, and integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”
What’s your stance as a mid-career leader? Have you needed a career mentoring program?
Your mid-career years are also one of the most important years of your life. Of course, when you start your career at the ripe age of 22 or 24, it is when you decide where you are headed. Then once you are in your mid-career years, which are between ages 35 to 45, the spectrum of importance changes. If you thought your initial years kept you busy, wait till you reach this phase. Well, let’s just say, the level of roles, hats, and responsibilities approach you differently.
That is why in this blog, I want to discuss the tips for managing the increased demands of work during your mid-career. But doing so while balancing the scales with family, personal interests, and self-care.
The Ten Hands Syndrome
Oprah Winfrey once said, “I’ve learned that you can’t have everything and do everything at the same time.”
Rightly so, this is what most people try to do to manage everything in one go. Why? Because many people either feel rushed or are excited to do several interesting tasks.
What many people semi-consciously believe is that they can do everything all at once. Not literally, but closer, which means that they think they have ten hands, again not literally. This is not an official syndrome or any kind of diagnosable condition but I call it the ten-hands syndrome. This is because mid-career professionals suddenly have a lot to do, and also, experience has taught them everything they need to know. They are no longer the naïve 22-year-old just starting out, eager to learn. They have learned enough and now can do so much but seldom remember that this can take a toll on them.
Let’s explore the various ways leaders in their mid-career can take a necessary break every now and then.
How to Improve Work-Life Balance in Your Mid-Career Years
The tips of balancing work and personal life will depend on the challenge one is facing while the balance is being disrupted.
- Stop micromanaging, learn to delegate
You may be working longer hours in a day like 12 to 16 hours or more. You need to cut down on that, as if you already didn’t know this! Here’s the thing, maybe you know this but you just don’t know how to cut back on the hours.
As a leader, you have to learn how to delegate. Maybe you are investing too much time in micro-management because you want to make sure you are there for when your team needs you. However, is it practical?
If you find yourself leaving five to six hours after your team members have already left, you’re doing something wrong. It’s fair if this happens once in a few months, but not almost every week.
- Prioritize, Plan, and Put Off
Your next challenge may be coming from not understanding your priorities. Do you go for your daughter’s birthday, or parent’s anniversary or do you sit back and meet that urgent deadline? It’s easier to think and know that family is important, but when the time comes to act, you ponder on the consequences.
“Oh, I can celebrate the next day. I can wish over the phone and do a brief video call. They’ll understand that I was busy at work.”
Not every year, my friend! Things can get heated when the family members find your absence disappointing and concerning at the same time. First, they may feel neglected, and second, they might realize faster than you do that you’re doing more than your share of work.
In this case, you must learn to prioritize and plan your work. Learn also to put things off for the next day if you know that you can get an extension of time. Yes, putting things off for the next day isn’t a big no-no as traditionally believed.
- Another challenge is that you’ve found your work to be a distraction of something amiss in your personal life. It could be that you’re struggling with a personal problem that’s overwhelming you. And in the bargain, you are displacing your emotions and deep-diving into work. It’s a temporary distraction and while work may not suffer as much, you are simply throwing your emotions under the rug until further notice.
This further notice can come in the form of health issues and mental health problems. So, self-care means taking the necessary break that you need to address your personal problems in life. In these cases, I also recommend that you improve your Spiritual Health or SiQ levels in order to address the root cause rather than simply treat the symptoms of your struggle.
If you want more tips on how to improve work-life balance as a leader, get a personalized Career mentors in India program from me. I’d be happy to help!