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A career in the Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals, and the Life Sciences industries can be very rewarding and fulfilling. But it often means working long, stressful hours.

Professionals in these industries are often mission-oriented, and aware that what they’re working to create, or manufacture can change lives. But what happens when there’s a significant amount of work that consumes everything else you do with no end in sight?

When your Job Becomes your Life

While it’s admirable and sometimes necessary to work whatever hours it takes to complete a project, it can be increasingly easy to forget to take time for yourself. As a life science professional, doing anything but work can seem like laziness or self-indulgence.

However, burnout is real, and if you’re not operating at full capacity because you’re exhausted, your work and personal life will suffer.

  • Try Keeping One Day Meeting-Free
    Often, meetings take time from being productive. Try establishing one day a week (or two afternoons) as “meeting-free.” Setting aside a day to get work done will do wonders for your productivity. You’ll get more accomplished during the day and take home less work (and stress) at night.
  • Don’t Always Be the First Person in or the Last Person Out
    Punctuality and a good work ethic are important. But professionals who spend ridiculously long hours at work may only be demonstrating poor time management. Make an effort to prioritize tasks and leave on time at least three nights a week. One tactic is to put an appointment on your calendar for the end of the day, so you have a reason to leave.
  • Learn to Say “No”
    Every time you say “yes” to another task, you’re increasing your work time, and decreasing your “me” time. Set a list of priorities and make decisions accordingly. Obviously, there will be times when “no” is not the right answer, but in those cases, ask which project is more important and set your priorities.
  • Protect your Time Away from Work
    If you have to take work home, make sure you set time limits for yourself, so it doesn’t eat up all of your personal time. Triage the important stuff. Respond only to the most critical emails, then leave the rest for when you’re back at your desk.
  • Make Family a Priority
    The people you love and who love you aren’t expendable – and your job should be built around that. If family emergencies happen, show up. Consistently make time to be there for the people that you love and count on you.
  • Take a Vacation (or Staycation)
    Remember: Vacation and personal time exist for a reason. Take the day’s you’ve accrued. You’re supposed to use these days, and you (and your manager) will ultimately be glad you did. Let your coworkers know you’ll be offline until you return. Your work and attitude will improve after taking a break.

Conclusion
As a life science professional, your work is important. But it’s also important to recognize that you can operate much more effectively if you regularly take some time for yourself. No one can survive for long – or perform at their best – by running at 100 miles an hour all the time!