Moving to a new city for a job means leaving your old life behind and often throws you right into work, making it hard to achieve any semblance of a work-life balance.
When being the new kid in the office also coincides with being the new kid on the block, it is especially important that you don’t let your work life take over your entire life. It’s not good for your job and it’s not good for you.
This year I experienced my first summer in Toronto and also my first summer working in the city. After weeks of devoting myself to my job and nothing but my job, I realized that gaining some balance not only made me more productive but it generally made me happier.
Julie Chandler, an executive with Robert Half International, says that work-life balance is one of the most important facets to performing well at work. “When I have that work-life balance, I go in the next day with a smile on my face because I’m happy to be back,” she says.
According to a recent study by Regus PLC, more Canadian office workers feel that their work-life balance has improved. However, in my experience, new hires often let work take over as they try to prove themselves in their new office.
Attempting to balance a fast-paced Toronto job with life in the big city taught me a few things about dividing my time between work and play. Through trial and error, here are the top three lessons I learned:
Starting a new job on the right foot means working hard, but it doesn’t mean that you can never step away from your desk.
When I first started working in Toronto, I was glued to my chair for eight solid hours, the equivalent of flying from Toronto to London, England, every day without rest stops. After a few weeks of working on the permanent butt-imprint in my office chair, a co-worker approached me about having the same no-break problem. We decided to start eating lunch together, forcing each of us to step away from work for at least half an hour of banter over burgers.
The difference was astounding.
I returned to work feeling refreshed and ready to get back to my job. Taking coffee breaks and time for lunch also helps the day go by faster so rather than watching the clock tick by you actually have the energy and the drive to make the most of your time in the office.
Leave work at the office
In the age of social media and smart phones, work is no longer contained to the office. Assignments can roll in at any time, on any day with the click of a button.
However, it is important to make a distinction between work time and home time. Do you really need to be reading budget reports on Saturday morning or can it wait until Monday?
Job permitting, try to avoid checking your work emails during the weekends or evenings. If that isn’t possible, than at the very least give yourself some tech-free hours over dinner or at the gym; anything that allows you to focus on something other than your ongoing projects.
After a long day at work it can be tempting to come home and slump down on the couch for the rest of the evening. While a little R&R is never a bad thing, it’s important to break out of your work-to-home routine.
For me, this meant making plans with friends, going out after work and taking in tourist attractions on the weekends. Working in the office followed by chores and passing out at home won’t help make your job any more attractive. Put life back into your work-life balance and experience your city.