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In a world where technology is so prevalent, working a 9 to 5 job can become hard to maintain. With access to work at your fingertips you put yourself in a role that means working an “always on” job without even realizing it. When you are always available you face the challenge of following a healthy work-life balance because instead of dividing your time evenly between the two, you give all your attention to work only.

Another factor that causes an unhealthy work-life balance is the fear of job loss, which can make you feel the need to work longer hours. Harvard Business School found that 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is important for your mental and physical health. Focusing on things other than work such as family, friends and extracurricular activities not only keeps you active but keeps you sane as well. Too much stress and focus on a never-ending work day can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.

Here are 5 tips to help you get on track to maintaining a healthy work-life balance:

  1. Add downtime into your schedule

When you are planning your week, add in time for friends, family and activities that allow you to relax, enjoy yourself and recharge before the next work day. If you don’t schedule out down time your free time will likely get filled with whatever you feel like needs to be done in that moment, such as things like work or catching up on emails. Making sure you have scheduled downtime will help you remember to actually take some time for yourself.

  1. Take a break

You may not be able to take a break every day, depending on how busy your day is. However, you should at least take thirty minutes to an hour for lunch each day. Taking a lunch that forces you to focus on something other than work, reboot and come back full and ready to work again. It also gives you the “break” you need each day. Make sure when taking your lunch break you are getting away from your desk. Even if you brought lunch from home eat in the break room or even go outside if the weather is nice.

  1. Unplug

Technology has probably helped your life in several ways from working, to communicating and especially accessibility. The problem is that the work day never seems to end. If you have a hard time putting your phone down and focusing on things other than work when you’re supposed to be off, then consider unplugging. A lot of work problems that come up after work hours can’t be solved until the next day anyway. So instead of stressing about them all night, turn your phone/computer off and deal with it the next day.

Schedule weekend plans and vacations

Believe it or not, you company wants you to use your PTO. That’s why they give it to you because they understand that everyone needs a break sometimes. Often times, companies have a “use it or lose it” policy associated with PTO too, so why wouldn’t you use your days? There is also a reason you’re given days off. Even if you don’t have weekends off per say, you do have days off that you consider your weekend. Plan something for at least a few hours on your day off to get you out of your normal weekday routine.

  1. Make time for family

Your relationships with your family and friends are the best source of happiness. If you become a workaholic and allow it to damage your personal relationships, you will not be happy in your work or home life. Some days you will have to work overtime and that’s understandable, you just want to avoid letting it become an everyday thing that will ultimately cause you to be unhappy. Making personal relationships a priority will actually improve your productivity and efficiency will at work.

Bottom line, start small and build from there. Don’t try to change every bad habit all in one day, it won’t work. Pick one thing to start with, work on it until you’re where you want to be and then move onto something else. Small successes, less stress and a happier mentality will encourage you to keep improving.

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unnamedWhen you hear the term Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a good employee isn’t really the first thing that comes to mind… In fact, it probably isn’t even in the top 10 things that come to mind. 

When it comes to D&D, I’d wager that most people out there think the players are overweight nerds smelling up a room while systematically ensuring the safety of their own virginity. Others still imagine fantasy clad introverts eating Cheetos and drinking Mountain Dew. Or maybe they associate Dungeon & Dragons with the Occult, luring unlucky kids into the demonic trap of unreality. I mean, look what a failed will save” did to poor Tom Hanks in “Mazes and Monsters”.

But I am here to tell you, that isn’t always the case. Imagine a world where students are leaving college, entering the real working world with no honest idea of what lies ahead: The drudgery of adulthood, the isolation of being the new guy (or gal) in the workplace, the ever-crushing weight of responsibility… Terrifying, right? That’s where Dungeons & Dragons comes in and saves the day. Let me tell you how D&D made me a better employee (at least I think it did, *rolls a D20, result: 17*, yup it did).

Teamwork

In D&D, you are usually part of a group or party. You go on quests and save the realms together. The key factor in making it through an entire campaign is working as a team. I mean, if you don’t work together, then there is no way in the Abyss you’re going to defeat that Legendary Colossal Red Dragon, am I right? Work is much the same way: We function in departments and teams consisting of individuals in all areas here at Penna Powers. The Developers (Mages/Wizards), the Media Team (Paladins), Creatives (Fighters/Barbarians) and the Account Managers (Bards/Clerics) all work together to make the quest go as smoothly as possible while we fight to achieve the ever-elusive treasure of client approval. Without working as a team, that goal is never going to become a reality.

Tyranny of Dragons - Campaign Art - Tiamat

Planning ahead

In life, both D&D and reality, there are so many paths we can go down each day. Knowing your endgame can really help along the way. Are you looking to become a lvl 15 Shadow Dancer? Or do you want to save the princess? Maybe you’re even trying to launch a multifaceted digital marketing campaign for a client. All of these goals have checkpoints along the way, and knowing those checkpoints while having plans laid out ahead of time will keep you, your co-workers and your companions on track to success!

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Yes, that is Vin Diesel running a group. A critical is the best roll you can get.

Go with the flow

In Dungeons & Dragons, you’re always rolling dice to see if your desired actions are successful, and from time to time you’re going to roll a 1 (which is an automatic fail). It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing “boots of fleeing” or if you’re following a website blueprint perfectly… the DM (also known as “life”) is going throw a kobold in your path and your plans are going to change. When those guards catch you after stealing the Pearls of Argomon, rolling a 1 is going to put a kink in your escape. But, being able to stay cool and improvise is the difference between spending the next three game nights trying to pick the jail cell lock and celebrating in the Prancing Pony Tavern with the rest of the adventurers—sipping mead, listening to the pipes and planning your next sojourn—but I digress. The point is, things go wrong and plans change. Don’t let the dice (or the job) get you down.   

Keep an adventure log

Somewhere along the way on a project (or delving a dungeon), you’re going to get lost. It’s inevitable. It will be months, perhaps years, from the starting point and you aren’t going to remember who that farmer was who sent you to find their kidnapped daughter, or why you wanted to use a certain programing language on one page but not the others. Thank the old gods and the new you kept copious notes in your Adventurer’s Log (otherwise known as detailed project notes). These notes aren’t only a fun map of the journey you’ve been on, but they are also a fantastic resource to get you back on track when you’ve wandered too deeply into Fangorn Forest. An added benefit of Adventure Logs: Trustworthiness. DM’s (Dungeon Masters) aren’t infallible, having notes to prove him/her/she/he/it wrong is a great way to cover your tzarreth (“Butt.” Correct me if I’m wrong here, my Draconic is a bit rusty)!  

role playing game set up on table isolated on white background - stock photo

Roleplay, or how I learned to thrive outside my comfort zone

Not that kind of roleplay, sickos… But seriously, thinking and acting outside of your comfort zone is a great way to grow in all areas of life. I’m not really a suave pirate named Mortaemer Darratris, nor am I the stalwart Dwarven cleric Koth-Modan, nor even the Tree Frog archer Seronius Blek whose trusty companion is an oversize killer wasp… surprising right? But when I first left college, I wasn’t a working class professional either. I quickly learned that staying in my comfort zone wasn’t going to help my career at all. Reach out, take chances, and don’t be afraid to sound like an idiot when you join the party as a 3-foot-tall Tree Frog riding a giant wasp and saying “Hidee-Ho there.”

Office camaraderie

This goes beyond working together and helping the team/party succeed. Develop friendships with the people you work with. Spending eight hours a day with friends is much more enjoyable than eight hours with enemies. You’re going to be with these people more than your family in most cases, might as well enjoy the time. Remember, by the end of the journey, even the shady thief may shed a tear when the high-horsed Paladin dies in combat…

 

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