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By: Grace Irby

“What I do on my time doesn’t have any impact on my job.” At first glance, it may seem like what one does outside of the workplace doesn’t have any affect on their job or ability to be a good employee, and isn’t any of their employer’s business. However, every area of our lives has a domino effect on other areas, and there are beneficial, simple changes we can make that will improve our lifestyle, which in turn can improve our work life.

  • Relationships­ – Yes you can love who you want, but a negative relationship that is energy draining, can leave you feeling exhausted and unable to focus on your work tasks. Demands related to your relationship can also make you tardy at work. Poor relationships can cause stress, which will be discussed later in this article.
  • Driving habits – Always rushing on your way to work? Aggressive drivers, not only tend to drive dangerously, but also can be more likely to find the quick solution to a work need rather than the right solution. Practicing defensive driving habits and leaving for work with ample time to get there despite unexpected traffic, accidents, and road conditions, will help you start your shift with a clear mind and less frustration.
  • Sleeping habits – Let’s face it. None of us get as much sleep as we’d like. According to the Sleep Foundation, adults should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Making a conscious effort to go to sleep earlier may just be what your body needs to focus the next day at work.  
  • Diet and exercise – Another topic we hear about all too often without realizing how much of a difference it can make. Eating healthier food and burning more calories, helps us have more energy and sleep better, while strengthening our immune system. Not only will you feel better at work, but your body will also be less likely to catch the office cold your coworkers are so kindly sharing.
  • Drugs and alcohol – With marijuana becoming legal in more states, it is important to realize that some things are still illegal at your job. Drugs and alcohol have a lingering effect on your body, and do not flush out of your system right away. Failing a drug or alcohol test can cost you your job, but what some may not realize, is drinking too much the night before work, can still impair your ability to work the next day. In a study by the American Journal of Psychiatry, “the higher your blood alcohol level is, the more likely you’ll show signs of impairment more than 12 hours later.” These signs will show through at your job and your ability to perform everyday tasks.
  • Social media – It’s important to remember that nothing you post is private, and employees as well as potential employees, find out more than you realize. Think before you speak, or in this case post! Even items you’ve deleted are never truly gone. If you are striving to put your best professional face forward, be sure to critique what you share with your networks.
  • Stress – Although oftentimes unavoidable, stress has a huge impact on our ability to work. Stress affects your ability to focus, be productive, remember information, and process new information. Stress causes mental exhaustion, which can lead to seriously harmful mistakes. Many occupations today are the source for employees’ stress. If it is your job that is causing the stress, it is important to address the situation with your supervisor and see if anything can be changed. Being burnt out is not a desired job skill. When the time permits, take a quick break, even if it is to go get a drink of water, or stretch.
  • Bad habits – There’s an interesting article on Forbes titled the “14 Bad Habits That Can Cost You Your Job.” Among those listed, some noteworthy bad habits include: tardiness, poor grammar, inefficiency, bad body language, social media addiction, etc. While this applies to things done more so at work, these habits are formed outside of work, and can be broken there as well. (View the article here.)

It’s important to maintain a social life outside of work, while still making sure you’re giving your job your A Game. Hopefully you’ve discovered some areas in your personal life that can use some improvement. With a little tweaking, you will see a change at work. You may even notice a change in your mood and outlook!