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Here\'s to a Balanced 2008
Ann Geier
Publish Date: January 18, 2008   |  Tags:   Staffing

If you find balance in the time spent away from your desk or out of your scrubs, positive vibes will carry over to your work life. Here are six self-improvement resolutions for 2008. Let's meet back here in a year to toast our successes.

1. Prioritize your priorities. What's important in your life? Rank them. Write them down. Does your family come before your job? Shouldn't it? How do you spend your free time? Do you even have free time? Work hard when you need to work hard, but put your family first when the phone calls and e-mails can wait.

2. Learn to say no. I'm doing better, but I still feel guilty when someone asks me to do a presentation, write an article, chair a committee, help run a facility, develop education opportunities for national organizations ??? well, you get the point. I've said "yes" to projects even though I knew my heart wasn't in it or I didn't have the time. Your work will suffer when you sign on for too much and your free time will quickly disappear. Remember resolution No. 1?

3. Expand your horizons. Learn something new every day. Challenging yourself with fun mental exercises keeps your mind sharp and away from work responsibilities for a while. Sign up to have a "Word of the Day" e-mailed to you from an online dictionary. Work on your local paper's crossword puzzle. Read a book. Learn a new language.

4. Walk in her shoes. Learn a new task at work. If you're a staff nurse, study a business office function, then offer to help out in the office during your down time. If you're a manager, sit at the front desk and admit patients. Experience what your receptionist goes through on a very busy day. Work collection accounts. That's a real eye-opener. You'll quickly learn how hard it is to collect the money your facility is owed.

5. Take time for yourself. Every year my "me time" seems to get harder and harder to ft into my busy days. That just means I have to work harder to relax. Sounds funny, right? Perhaps, but I've found that I need to schedule my free time, just as I would a work engagement.

Set aside 30 minutes each day to do something you love or that relaxes you. Perhaps the half-hour before you fall asleep is the time you dedicate to reading your favorite novel. For me, 30 minutes of daily exercise clears my head and recharges my batteries. I'll even schedule daily walks when I'm on the road. Do I want a martini after a long day at a conference? As much as the next girl — I just make sure I hit the hotel's treadmill before its bar. What about those annoying layovers in airports? I spend that time power walking up and down terminals.

6. Do unto others...Small acts of kindness can go a long way to making yourself and those around you feel better. Jump in to finish charting for the nurse who should be on her mid-morning break. Offer to grab coffees for those in the business office when you get up to refill your own mug. At a recent conference that was riddled with technical glitches, one of the attendees volunteered to run for help whenever a presentation began to unravel. She wasn't part of the conference's leadership, but she quickly became someone we could count on to help fight fires. She saw an opportunity to help and jumped at it without being asked and without expectation for recognition.