Jumat, 16 Mei 2008

Balancing career and personal goals can be tough -- especially with laptops, cell phones and BlackBerrys keeping you close to work.

The numbers reflect that. Staffing firm Hudson (NasdaqGM:HHGP - News)s survey shows that 56% of workers dont use all their vacation time. When they do take off, a quarter say their bosses expect them to be accessible. Among managers, 35% check in, often daily.

Working round-the-clock may seem like the road to success, but its actually a recipe for career and personal disappointment, says executive coach Marty Seldman, who has guided top managers at Disney (NYSE:DIS - News), PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP - News) and General Electric (NYSE:GE - News) for more than 20 years.

Seldman and Ed Bernard, vice chairman of T. Rowe Price (NasdaqGS:TROW - News), a mutual fund company that manages $379 billion in assets, share tips on reaching work and personal goals.

Boost your stamina. "You may think you have a mental job, but (an executive) has so much work that it becomes a physical job," Seldman told IBD.

Schedule exercise the same way you plan for other career priorities. Be creative. Combine fitness with networking. Play tennis with potential clients. Go for a walk and think about your companys strategy.

"Top executives are extremely fit," said Seldman, whose latest book is "Executive Stamina." "Many only miss four to five days a year from their workouts."

Rank it. Assign one of three priority levels to everything.

"Is it something you must do, need to do or that would be nice to do?" Seldman said.

Not every report must be done perfectly. As you move up, demands hit you from all angles.

Say no. Each time you take on a project thats not key to your job or personal life, youre forced to skip something else more important.

Suppose youre asked to join a time-consuming task force.

"Use a soft no," Seldman said. "Say, I see why your task force is important. Right now Im committed to two key projects and dont have the time to join you. After your team gathers ideas, lets have lunch and Ill give you my feedback."

Or refer that person to someone else.

Schedule time for reflection. "Put yourself in a quiet place where you can think," Bernard told IBD. "Little interruptions cost more than they appear to."

Bernard spends one day every two weeks in a secondary office. He meets with employees half the day and then shuts the door.

"No one knows where I am except my assistant," Bernard said. "I stare out of the window at the beautiful countryside and think out broader strategic issues and make notes. Im creating a quiet space to handle issues that need thought rather than busywork."

Monitor changes. Figure out your priorities and track them monthly on your calendar, Seldman says. You may have healthy eating habits, strong religious practices and a good relationship with your spouse.

"But life is busy and people tend to drift from good practices," Seldman said. "You cut a corner one day and then its a slippery slope. It could be years before you notice (things have worsened)."


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