Seasons Change – So Should Your Habits
Between dealing with the pressure of swiftly closing deals, the growing mountain of paperwork, keeping a robust client pipeline and fostering partnerships in the housing industry, it can be extremely challenging for MLOs to carve out quality time for family, friends and life, in general.
As this hectic summer season comes to a close, why not use the more relaxed fall season to find a better equilibrium between your professional and personal life? An improved work-life balance greatly improves mental and physical health, while bringing more success in the office and more comfort in the home.
What is Work Life Balance?
According to recent studies, the demands of today’s “always-on-the go” work environment is taking its toll, preventing many professionals from taking part in important personal activities. From family dinners to birthdays to kids’ baseball games, today’s workforce is in total overdrive. While we’ve all felt the pressure to exceed the demands of our employer and strive to get ahead, for many, putting off the disconnect between work and home could be setting the stage for potential burn out.
According to “The Work-Life Imbalance Report” commissioned by work management solution provider Workfront, nearly two in five employees polled have missed important life events because of work and only a third of employees feel they have a good work-life balance. A report by Forbes found a whopping 94 percent of U.S. professionals report working more than 50 hours per week and more than half work at least 65 hours.
The term “work-life balance” is more than simply a buzz phrase that has made its way into social media and headlines in recent years. Work-life balance envelopes a deeper meaning of a person’s life including whether they feel satisfied in their career and relationships, their health and wellbeing, and their overall happiness. The trick is to find a steady balance between meaning and fulfillment in our personal lives and at work. When we’re successful in achieving that delicate balance we’re far more likely to experience overall satisfaction in our lives.
The Road to Achieving the Balance
Making the commitment to strive toward an ideal work-life balance can be daunting, however, it doesn’t have to be. Start small and don’t worry about wiping the slate clean. Build on the areas in your life where balance already exists and remember everyone is different. No two people will have the same work-life balance.
Start Small: There’s a reason crash diets and New Year’s resolutions don’t work. Don’t attempt to change your lifestyle completely in one fell swoop. If you’re overextending yourself at work, don’t dramatically cut your workload from 80 hours a week to 40 hours. Ease up over time or your plan will surely be a recipe for failure.
“If you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience success. Build from there,” said Robert Brooks, co-author of “The Power of Resilience: Achieving Balance, Confidence and Personal Strength in Your Life.”
Unplug: One of the greatest benefits of the advancement of technology is the increased telecommunicating ability. While we’re spending more time in the home, we are still “plugged in” to the office. The blurring of work and personal life shouldn’t become so distorted that quality time with loved ones is compromised and the checking of electronics becomes a constant addiction.
“By not reacting to the updates from work, you will be developing a stronger habit of resilience. Resilient people feel a greater sense of control over their lives,” says Brooks. “Reactive people have less control and are more prone to stress.”
Don’t allow stress to infringe upon or interrupt your off time. There are times when you need to consciously shut out distractions and stress, such as at your child’s soccer game or during a family dinner.
Take Care Of Yourself: Fostering a healthy lifestyle will help enhance your work-life balance. Get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, meditate and exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise pumps endorphins, is a stress reliever, puts meditation in motion and improves your mood.
Avoid Perfectionism: Because the habit of perfectionism manifests itself in childhood, it can be a difficult habit to kick later in life. However, seeking the impossible and striving for unattainable perfection can be damaging to your work and your home life.
“As life gets more expanded it’s very hard, both neurologically and psychologically, to keep that habit of perfection going,” says Marilyn Puder-York, PhD and author of The Office Survival Guide. “The healthier option is to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.”
Though MLOs have a heavy and often challenging workload, there is a reason mortgage loan officer was ranked #9 on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Business Jobs list. For those who are dedicated, it can be a very satisfying and lucrative career. Make the most out of your MLO position and your professional and personal relationships by instilling more balance into your life and removing unnecessary stressors.