HOW TO MAKE MORE TIME FOR THE STUFF THAT MATTERS

Adjusting to new a job, fellowship or internship can be challenging. Heck, appreciating the job you’ve been in for months or years can be rough, too. Either way, it’s often inevitable to get so comfortable in your job that you forget to show appreciation for other aspects of life — and our overworked culture doesn’t help: The United States ranks 28th among advanced nations in terms of work-life balance. On the other hand, you might be someone looking to buckle down more so that your home life isn’t keeping you distracted or fatigued at work.

No matter the challenge, I’ve got a solution. Don’t believe me? Click through for wisdom to guide you through those intense work-filled weeks.

THE CHALLENGE Fighting the urge to go straight home after work.
THE SOLUTION Learn to say yes.

Received a text asking for an impromptu dinner with a friend? Say yes. Mom asked you to drop by to say hello? Say yes. Or at least consider saying it. It’s agreeing to little things like this that can you make you feel much more connected to the world around you. Saying yes doesn’t mean totally giving in to someone else’s plan or expectation. You still have autonomy in what you decide to do and when you decide to do it. And if the question involves some place you’ve never been or meeting new people, definitely consider saying yes. You don’t want to miss a chance to network or expand your horizons.

THE CHALLENGE Recovering from back-to-back-to-back post-Happy Hour late nights.
THE SOLUTION Don’t be afraid to say no.

This one is all about knowing your limit and not stretching yourself too thin. If you feel as if you’re doing too much but recognize you never say no, it’s time to start utilizing that handy two-letter word — and mean it. This can be tough in both career and social settings when people are so used to you agreeing to all types of tasks and plans. Psych Central says that along with not making excuses as to why you’re saying no, you should be sure to say it with empathetic assertion, meaning to think of yourself as being in the other person’s shoes as as you say no. How would you like to hear it?

THE CHALLENGE You feel the onset of burnout quickly approaching.
THE SOLUTION Plan a few days off.

That’s the number of paid vacation days respondents rolled over into the next year, according to a survey by discount travel site Hotwire. And in while Americans who earn Paid Time Off earn on average 14 days, most only use 10, indicates data from Expedia’s 2013 Vacation Deprivation survey.

Let’s put it in perspective for you: Expedia estimates that 144 million employed Americans “collectively failed to take more than five hundred million (577, 212,000) available days of vacation” in 2013.

So if you’re one of the lucky ones with solid PTO benefits, here’s some unsolicited advice: Use them! Plan a staycation to explore your city during low-traffic periods, indulge in a some fall shopping (inspiration here, if you need it!) or treat yourself to a massage, manicure or pedicure.

THE CHALLENGE One word — exhaustion.
THE SOLUTION Make sleep a priority.

Whether it’s a work day, day off, vacation day or sick day, sleep should be taken seriously. If you’re getting too few hours, consider the amount of things you’re saying yes to. Don’t let the phrase, “I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead,” be your mantra for too long. Plenty of successful figures catch their much-needed beauty rest. Even Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg strives for eight hours every night, and Huffington Post Media President Arianna Huffington challenged herself to rest seven to eight hours every night, too, according to the Huffington Post. And if the actions of those thriving women aren’t motivation enough, consider this: Not getting enough sleep could lead to precarious health issues down the road including heart disease and obesity.


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