Creating Better Work/Life Balance: Quick Self-Assessment

Guys tend to identify strongly with the work that they do. We’re taught that the work we do is who we are. When we meet people, at parties or at networking groups, the first question we usually ask is “What do you do?”

The notorious workaholics we know are usually guys. It’s a masculine-themed issue in our culture. We’ve become a society that has seen a standard workweek increase from 40-hours a week to 50 and 60 or more. What happened to us? Isn’t there more to us? Fortunately, the recession – although devastating in any number of ways – has given us an opportunity to get back to basics, and invest in those people and experiences that bring value to our lives, aside for just work.

Work is a strong source of self-esteem for men,  and provides us with different identities. When work is good, we see ourselves as a breadwinner to our families and children (or pets), a successful son or husband, and powerful. When it’s not so good, or we’re laid off or drifting between jobs, we might experience shame, powerlessness or “poverty mentality”.

Let’s put our eggs in a couple of different baskets, shall we? Good investors learn to diversify, to spread their investments among their portfolio for balance. I propose the same for developing better work/life balance. If work tips too far to one side of the scales in your life, maybe work on developing other, equally important parts of your life.

  1. Do I manage my work stress effectively? What could be different?
  2. Do I have the support systems I need (e.g. friends, family, hobbies)? If not, how do I boost them up?
  3. Does my work affect other parts of my life, like my relationship or marriage?
  4. Do I tend to overidentify with my job or career? Does it affect other relationships?

Learning to deal with stress is an important component, en route to better work-life balance. Here’s a free stress management worksheet for you to better assess and change your stress: http://phoenixmenscounseling.com/clinicalforms/stress-inventory.pdf.


 

About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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2 Responses to Creating Better Work/Life Balance: Quick Self-Assessment

  1. How’s that for a list of thought-provoking questions! I tend to manage work-related stress fairly well (always have). And as for support systems, someone once told me, “you are the company you keep.” (Or maybe it was a Dale Carnegie quote). Anyway, there’s a lot of truth in it. So I try to stick around people who are as positive and as motivated as me. This way, I focus on what’s important and move forward.

  2. Jason says:

    That’s great, Ricardo. You’re in the minority of guys who know how to practice stress management. And I agree: surrounding yourself around positive people is a big reflection of the person we are. Thanks for your comments.

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