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Why do I feel so chained to the job?

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in Centerpiece,Office Management,Time Management

A “working mom” writes on the Admin Pro Forum that she likes her job and feels lucky to have it.

But, she says, “I feel chained to the job and out of the loop at home and everywhere. ... I’m just sad that I can’t seem to find a better balance. There are never enough hours in the day. Working part time is not an option—since we have three teens to get through college. Any advice for finding a better balance?”

Recommendations from other administrative pros:

•  Set up a give-and-take meeting with your boss, suggests Sharon. “Ask the boss to help you prioritize your day,” she says. Go a step further during the meeting by blocking off time for each project on your calendar, so you can both see what’s realistic.

•  Do a mental dump, says Angela. Otherwise, “you tend to ‘carry’ everything around in your mind and constantly hope you haven’t forgotten something, which means you are worrying about your personal life at work and then worrying about your work life at home.”

Put everything on paper, then pluck out the three things that are most important, and put them on your priority list.

•  Hold a family meeting to decide how the family is going to get everything done, suggests Sara.

•  Rejuvenate with a real lunch break, offers Lisa. “And leave the office when doing so,” she says. “It makes it feel like your day is broken up.”

•  Make a clean break from email after 6 p.m., says another part-time working mom. “I suggest not looking at your email or text messages after hours,” she says. “I often find myself tied to my cellphone, even while on vacation.”

•  Consider whether the job may offer flexibility. One admin suggests finding out whether the employer would allow a work-from-home arrangement one day a week.

If you wake up dreading the job, she says, “I think your sadness is telling you something.” As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, says, “You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.”

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