Work-Life Balance: Life, then work, balance.
Where life comes before work, in the work-life balance.
This so called work-life balance is constructed as some magical equation where one should strive to find time for 50% life and 50% work. This is impossible and frankly the wrong way of looking at things. Let’s try to look at it rather as an If-then statement. I want to challenge that : if you are happy at home, then you will be happy (and successful) at work. You need one before you can achieve the other.
So, why has work taken over?
This culture of always having to prove yourself and stand out amongst the rest to advance in your career, or simply be noticed, is extremely common to today’s work world. This has inevitably lead to a diminished work-life balance, where “work” takes the front seat and “life” drags behind. In a Harvard Business School survey, 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. We live to work and work to live, or so it seems.
Some of you may be proud at the fact that you work your butt off day in and day out. It makes you feel like you’ve got a handle on your career, and maybe even an advantage over colleagues. While others may feel like work is simply piling up against their control. Although it is important to understand that the quality of your work and your productivity is eminently rooted in the quality of your personal life. As Christine L. Carter, Sociologist and Happiness expert, expressed “How happy you are profoundly influences how well you do your job…what we do outside of work thoroughly influences the energy, motivation, focus, creativity, persistence, insight, and raw intellectual power we bring to a given project or task at work.”
The better your personal life is, the higher your potential to do great work.
How do you begin to regain control over your personal life?
- Make (don’t find) time for physical health.You’ve heard it before: you only have one body. Exercise and meditation is a proven stress reducer, as during such activities your body releases a chemical called endorphins which triggers a positive feeling in the body. At first you may find it difficult to make time for yourself, but once you get a handle on it, you’ll soon see a difference in your work. Up goes the energy and down goes the tension.
- Create goals in both your work AND personal life. If you put too much emphasis on one part of your life, there is no doubt that an imbalance will occur.
- Time management skills to ensure you are making time for what’s important, including YOU. If you somehow always miss out on you time, try scheduling it into your planner as you would with mandatory work meetings. If you plan out your schedule in a visual format, you can see where is best to allocate time and make it happen. At first it may seem silly, but don’t knock it ‘till you try it! ** Tuesday 9pm to 9:45pm – Read 50 shades of grey hidden under an informative book on world history.
Among these tips, the most important thing to do is self-reflect – only you can make time in your schedule. If you don’t take action and steer your own life, you may never find that balance. Life is full of excitement, both at work and outside of work. Make the best of both worlds by taking a handle of your happiness first.
Find success in your personal life, and success at work will follow.