It was the feeling in my throat that spooked me the most. My neck, and particularly my throat, was constantly clenched, tight, and sore despite not having a cold or anything else obvious. I visited my doctor, an ENT specialist, and a chiropractor and none of them could point to anything specific as a cause for the persistent discomfort. Intuitively, however, I knew that it was stress related.
My job at the time, while enjoyable, combined a number of stressful factors. For starters, my field was both in web and in consumer electronics technology – a couple high-paced and demanding industries. I began as the web guy – including everything from websites and virtual worlds to social media and online campaigns – but that soon also encompassed product management on a nascent CE line. I wore at least a couple hats. The company’s headcount was also small but worldwide, which meant a daily marathon of calls, iChats, and emails. I spent my mornings in Europe, my afternoons with the Americans, and my evenings discussing specs with our manufacturing headquarters in Hong Kong. Saturday was really the only quiet day of the week. And on top of that, the economy was in the toilet and the retail giants were ruthless – which makes for frantic Sales folks and miserable Management discord. All of this I somehow came to feel in a very real way in my throat.
So I resigned. It was a big decision. The team was generally great, the pay was very good, and the opportunities were numerous. But it simply wasn’t worth my health.
And sure enough the tension in my throat dissipated soon after I moved on.
That was two years ago. This post is less about burning the candle at both ends and recognizing one’s breaking point than it is about identifying positive practical habits to not only achieve a better work-life balance but to actually become more productive, efficient, and happy overall. So in the spirit of inspiring you to live and work smarter, here’s a list of 12 things I did: