This post is the first in a series looking at Work Life Balance. The purpose of these articles is to explore work life balance, assess where you are now and focus on how to successfully combine work, family, relationships, leisure time and health into a satisfying, fulfilled life just by making small but effective changes.
Are you struggling with work-life balance?
Or are you satisfied with your current work-life balance?
Are you happy with how you are spending your time?
Maybe you need to reflect on this question: ‘are you living to work? Or working to live?’
Let’s hear the case for the prosecution
- You eat too much unhealthy food?
- Drink too much?
- Work too hard? For way too many hours?
- Neglecting your family?
- Not taking care of your health?
- Always thinking about work?
- Constantly checking your phone for texts and emails no matter where you are?
- Working through most evenings and weekends?
- Overwhelmed by life’s pressures?
How do you plea?
Do these apply to the way you’re living?
If so, it’s time to address your work life balance.
I guess that is why you are here.
As an Executive life coach and formerly the Owner of a chain of gyms the most common thing that I have found is people struggle to figure out how they can fit everything they need to do into their lives. How do they manage work, families, community, and leisure? Worse still how do they find time to look after their health when they are also responsible for bringing up their own children and for the care of their aging parents. Over the next 6 articles I am going to provide you with the answers if you are someone struggling with this yourself.
Please, do yourself a favour, ignore the naysayers who say life balance is impossible! These are people who are trying to find space on the cluttered worldwide web, and to do this, their message is telling you to forget trying to establish a work life balance. They say it’s ridiculous, unrealistic, unattainable, impossible. There’re all sorts of fancy titles they’re now coming out with. Live off balance on purpose, work life integration, and other such titles. Alas they miss the point. Seemingly written by workaholics or egotistical naysayers. Please accept, work-life balance does exist and is attainable. This series of articles will show you how. Just know nothing is impossible.
Here’s a simple truth – we weren’t meant to have a never-ending work day! Our work and our personal life are meant to be distinctly separate from each other. In the old days, so I’ve been told as I’m really not that old, we worked 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, we rested and played at the weekend. We never thought about work when we got home of an evening, that was family time.
However, things have now changed. In fact, the world has changed. Some of the changes in the work world have led to the demolition of the boundary between work and personal worlds.
Texting, emails, skype, laptops and tablets made your work easily accessible, and worse still made you easily accessible to your work. There’s no getting away. That in its own right is where a lot of your problems have started. For many of you there seems to be no boundary to your work life and your home life.
How many of you have a office at home, or a table covered with work papers? More time than ever before seems to be focused on work, and that is at a cost to your personal life.
And the pressures have just increased!
We often use ‘stress’ and ‘pressure’ interchangeably. “Working in a stressful job” or “feeling under pressure” are related, in fact those struggling with work life balance feel as though they’re stuck in a pressure cooker. We know too much stress can lead to illness, it steals away your energy, ages you fast. A few of the good reasons why you need to make it a priority of yours to find a way to balance your work and life.
This is of course a huge challenge for you. What’s clear is there is a struggle between all the roles you play in life. Whether working roles, employer or employee, parental roles, intimate roles, son or daughter, and all your other roles, each of which brings its own responsibilities. All of these responsibilities bring their own pressures upon you. On top of all these roles and responsibilities, comes your actual job and the workload this brings. The work which pays for maybe a roof over your head, food in your stomach and that of your family, that pays the bills. The pressure mounts. But you always want to find more time. More time will give you more balance, but it doesn’t work like that. For a start we all only get 24 hours a day. 6 to 8 of these hours need to be given to sleep. And even if you could have more, most of you would just spend it working anyway. You’re trapped, or that’s how it seems.
What is clear, is that in today’s busy world, prioritizing between your work and your personal life has become a huge challenge.
Why does this matter?
Because it does! Maintaining a work-life balance is about separating your personal and professional lives without allowing one to encroach upon the other. Both are important, neither should be neglected. Maintaining a proper work-life balance ensures both your physical and mental wellbeing. Without balance you experiences many problems e.g. increasing stress, trying to work beyond your capabilities, neglecting your private life and personal needs. Where slowly but surely it all boils up inside of you, until you suddenly lose it. There are so many scenarios, negative ones, which are caused by a bad work life balance. In this series of articles, we are going to examine how good or bad your balance is, how it is actually affecting you, and then we will look at what you can do about it. We are not just theorizing, but we are going to go through things that you can actually apply to your life to improve your work life balance.
Juggling the demands of your career and personal life is an ongoing challenge as is the need to reduce stress and maintain balance in key areas of your life. Often you feel overwhelmed with all the demands you face, whether from your job or personal life. You are probably working harder today than ever before, yet you are getting less satisfaction and enjoyment from what you do.That is why it is so crucial for you to tackle your work life balance problems.
Small business owners tell me all the time that their biggest headaches are caused by juggling work life balance whilst running their business day to day. And they don’t know how to balance work in relationship to other areas of their life. Hectic work schedules, increased responsibility, new technology, and the need to read and respond to growing quantities of email and voicemail are just some of the things that place huge demands on your work life. This pressure may cause you to feel as if your work is a prison that you can never escape as more and more keeps coming at you. I assure you there are answers. Please work through the next 5 articles in this series, I assure you the effort will be well worth it.
In the next article we will look at the definition of work life balance to see what it actually means.
Hope you took some great value out of this post today! I’d love to hear your feedback, so make sure you leave a comment with your thoughts or questions.