Oasis Living Magazine, February 01, 2011
It seems these days that everyone is busy and time is the currency that is never in abundance. More people are experiencing burn out and anxiety due to being overworked or dealing with the daily pressures of modern life. We know that poor work life balance can lead to fatigue, depression, lack of motivation, burn out, illness and friction with your spouse, your kids and your colleagues.
The balancing act between “work” (ambition/career) and “life” (family/ leisure /spiritual & personal development) sounds idealistic but is not necessarily simple. Given that each individual has different needs, experiences and goals, finding the perfect Work-Life balance isn’t a “one solution fits all”. It is a process of trial & error until you find the right balance that works for you. Identifying your best approach to balancing work and life is the key to living a happier, healthier and more productive life.
Where do you start?
The Bigger Picture:
Work Accomplishment versus Lifestyle Enjoyment
You might already have your own definition of success or achievement. Are you on that path? Do you know what you actually want to achieve? Take some time to assess your current situation, clarify your core values and try to identify what is important to you.
Take a few minutes to think about what is enjoyable in your life. It may involve feelings such as love, happiness, contentment, fulfillment, satisfaction, pride in yourself or actions and activities that you participate in.
To obtain a healthy work-life balance involves integrating work accomplishment and lifestyle enjoyment into your life every day. To assist you in identifying ways to establish a work-life balance, here is a range of suggestions divided into three sections; Time, Communication and Self:
We can’t change the number of hours in a day, but we can change how we use them. Once you know where the time goes, you can begin to be more conscious of how to best use it.
Keep track of everything you do for one week – how well are you using this valuable resource?
Get a daily planner; write what needs to be done with a time frame. Prioritize the order.
Make a weekly schedule and include time with your family and your Self.
Think outside the box and look for flexibility in your working arrangements: Can you work flexible hours, or from home 1 day/week? Sharing the driving if this is taxing for you.
Leave work at work unless it is “crucial”: Nowadays with mobile phones, laptops and blackberries, it is so easy to be accessible 24/7. “I’ll just check this email” continues for hours. Be disciplined and leave work at work. Don’t work longer, work smarter. Switch off, relax and recharge your batteries.
Develop a strong support system: Ask friends and colleagues for help and support when you need it. Whether it is to share picking up the kids from school or to delegating tasks to other capable colleagues where possible.
Listen to your spouse and colleagues, when they suggest that you are working too hard – You probably are!
Learn to say NO!: This can be difficult at the beginning but developing this skill will help you avoid being overwhelmed, overworked or frustrated
Stress Management: Reflect on the signs and symptoms of when you are stressed. Find tools and strategies to cope with the stressors: If you can, change the situation (Avoid the stressor or alter the stressor), if this is not possible, you must change your reaction to it (Adapt to stressor or accept the stressor). Make a point of choosing positive thoughts, give yourself permission to rest and relax in these acute stressful periods (go for a run, a massage, shopping –whatever works for You!)
Set SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and within a Time frame.
Nurture yourself: Eat healthy, exercise, develop a positive attitude and set aside time to relax. Read, practice yoga, and do outdoor activities. Find something that you enjoy and is good for You! Include this in your weekly schedule.
Creating a work-life balance is an ongoing process as your family’s needs, your interests and your life evolves and changes. Re-evaluate your state of work-life balance on a regular basis and make adjustments to adapt to these changes.
Remember, few people’s final words in life are “I wish I had of spent more time at work!” Your health and happiness are worth the time and energy investing to this process. Good luck and enjoy the ride!