Weddings, babies, moving, illness–life is, well, life. Exciting life changes can seem more like chaos and unexpected ones may seem impossible to recover from.
Whether you’re experiencing a planned transition, or life has thrown a surprise your way, here are seven tips for professionals to avoid getting behind at work or thrown off their career track.
1. Plan ahead.
While not every life change comes with a handy announcement, some do allow you the opportunity to plan ahead for the transition. If you’re getting married, moving, or having a baby, consider making changes to your schedule or updating family rules so that when life shifts, your career can remain on track.
2. Keep your calendar close.
When you’re jostled out of your routine, it’s easy to let that routine lapse. While parts of your schedule will inevitably change, don’t toss it out completely–just modify it. Post your calendar in a public place or online, too, so you and others access it and stay on task as you hammer out the kinks in your new work schedule.
Depending on how private you are, asking for help or simply letting a manager know about the change in your life might lead you to a system of support. Reach out to family and stay in touch with co-workers in the office. Don’t allow yourself to get “out of the loop” on either front.
4. Take time off.
If you need time off, take it! After you’ve had enough time to process the change in your life, set a firm date for returning to work and plan for the transition.
5. Learn to say no.
An overworked person isn’t fun at home and isn’t efficient on the clock. If your sister wants you to watch the kids (again) and you’ve got work to do–say no. If there’s no way you could pile on another project without a meltdown, let your boss know.
When home interruptions intrude upon your workday or projects pile up after an absence, remember that you don’t have to do everything. Would your husband mind cleaning the bathroom this week? Could that task be passed on to an intern at the office? Learn to delegate and ask for help.
7. Think strategically.
Sometimes life throws us a real curve ball. Instead of stressing about the kitchen floor, or being flustered over unknowns, prioritize what’s important. Are you putting more work than necessary into certain projects? Have a conversation with your manager (and your spouse) about what needs full attention and what can be “good enough.” When time gets tight, you need to get strategic about how you spend it—that goes at work and at home.
By Miranda Paul
Contributor to Life Meets Work
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