Seven Tips to Attain Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work - Slide 4

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In nature there’s a season for everything. Spring (planting season) and fall (harvest) are times of extreme work. But there’s a slowdown in the summer when plants are growing, and, of course, winter is when farmers do other things (repair work on house and equipment, etc.). Most industries/companies work this way, too. They have busy seasons (when they’re getting ready for major industry events or peak sales times, for instance) and not-so-busy seasons. It might be easy for you to plan your work/home life flow around these times -- not just in terms of when you plan vacations, but also in terms of daily work hours.

During the slow time, it’s OK to leave a little earlier each day if you know you’re going to be working long hours once busy season arrives. For Gordon, there is a time to be on the road and a time to be at home with his family. He and his wife look at their year as a whole. They plan their schedule according to the seasons of their life, knowing that he’ll be slammed in August, September, and October and slower in December and July. They plan for when he’ll be working and when he’ll be more engaged with the family. You can do the same. Everyone’s rhythm is a little different, but when you find the right one for you and your life, you’ll be able to achieve a lot more at work and at home.

If there’s one thing that just about every IT professional on the planet can identify with, it’s the difficulty in striking a work/life balance. The nature of the job is such that not only is there no such thing as a 40-hour work week, there’s no such thing as a week in which you really know how many hours you’ll be working. So how on earth do you create a balance under those extraordinary circumstances?

According to workplace consultant and author Jon Gordon, you don’t. In fact, he says, you need to throw the idea of striking a work/life balance out the window, because it’s unattainable, and striving for it will lead to nothing but frustration and disappointment. Instead, Gordon advises that you think of it as establishing a natural work/life rhythm, much like the rhythm of the seasons.

Gordon, whose most recent book is “The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work,” has come up with a list of seven tips on how to attain that elusive goal.

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