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By Duane Craig
June 4, 2018
Depending on your role in construction, you might feel as though you don't have a personal life. However, there are strategies you can use to improve your work-life balance. To get started, just consider how things might have got out of balance in the first place.
The road to imbalance always starts with you. Do you allow your company to overuse you? Does your job description require you to be expert at everything and be ready at a moment's notice to perform whatever the business needs next? Or are you a construction business owner yourself? Do you struggle with delegating? Maybe you feel as if you're pulled in many directions at once.
Sometimes people have personal reasons for work-life imbalance. They might be trying to escape personal problems by immersing themselves in their work. Do you associate work with money, status and power, or with yourself-satisfaction? Is work the most important thing to you, even beyond your need to earn a living? Your feelings concerning your work can help you understand your relationship with it.
With the answers in mind, you’ll discover why you don't have a work-life balance. But first, you should understand the consequences of having a poor work-life balance in construction.
Many people in the construction industry work long hours. As it just so happens, there's a difference between working long hours and being a workaholic. And it shows up in your health. Workaholics feel guilty when not working, and they pressure themselves with their own deadlines. People who work long hours without obsessing about work, don't have increased risks for cardiovascular disease or diabetes, and report fewer health complaints, according to research by Lieke ten Brummelhuis and Nancy P. Rothbard. How about workaholics? Just the opposite. Their need for recovery is greater; they have more sleep problems, are more cynical, have more emotional exhaustion, and are more depressed.
Construction is heavily entrepreneurial because so many of the construction businesses start as sole proprietorships. In 2013, there were more than two million construction firms with no employees. What’s more, there were almost 600,000 with 19 or fewer employees. All of those small companies represent a large pool of businesses started by entrepreneurs. The fact that construction is a bootstrap endeavor open to anyone who can get licensed also makes it prime entrepreneur territory.
Entrepreneurs tend to be passionate about their work, socially isolated, have few safety nets, and live with a lot of uncertainty. Eva de Mol, Jeff Pollack and Violet T. Ho, writing in the Harvard Business Review, discovered a link between the type of passion an entrepreneur has and their chances of burning out. It's also possible that passion plays a similar role in burnout among those who are not entrepreneurial.
One feels harmonious passion when the work provides them self-satisfaction. Harmoniously passionate people balance their work with other aspects of their lives fairly well.
Obsessive passion, on the other hand, characterises a person who believes their job is important because of how it affects their status and finances. If you are obsessively passionate about your construction work, you might also have more trouble balancing your work life with other aspects of your life. People who scored high on the scale of obsessive passion for their work were more likely to burnout than those who with high scores in harmonious passion. Besides burnout’s adversary health effects, , it is also proven to harm work performance.
Key to Work and Life Balance
Elizabeth Grace Saunders, time management coach and author, emphasizes thoughtful reflection is a good starting point to get your work and the rest of your life in better balance. She recommends asking yourself what type of person you want to be in all of your roles. While everyone would probably say they wish to be the best spouse, parent and employee they can be, that doesn't define what 'best' is. There is a TV version of parenting, and then there's real life. Therefore, you have to get into the nits and grits of what you value.
Then, check in with others in your life and see what they expect of you. If you don't ask, you'll end up making incorrect assumptions. When it comes to work, consider what flexibility you have with your job. Find out what's truly required of you and see where you can carve out more time for your personal life.
For instance, you might delegate more or do more virtual participation at both work and personal events. Or, you could do the most essentials of your work engagements, so you can get away to the daughter's soccer game earlier.
Becoming more efficient with how you work can also help you find more time for the personal. Just remember not to fill up all that saved time with more work.
health and wellness
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