Stress at work has robbed many couples and families of their happiness. When you are doing overtime on the job, and possibly a hobby, spending time with family may be on the back-burner.
Or possibly it’s the other way. You give all you have to your family and your employer, but your own needs are left out of the running.
Juggling the needs of your job and other high-priority areas in your life has been a headache for more decades than you could imagine. And it’s even worse now that smart technology tethers you to your work all day long, everywhere!
Why you need work-life balance
This is one of the most critical skills you need to master – not so you can be more efficient, productive, high earning and smart, but just because that’s the only way you’ll continue to be human. Sounds drastic, doesn’t it?
But it’s true, because the moment you stop relating with people, and the moment you get out of touch with your own self, you’ve lost touch with reality to some extent.
Factors which upset the balance
The things you look forward to at your workplace might be a better enjoyment of your work life, a greater potential to move forward in your career, the opportunity to get the training and development you need to rise to your ideal level of responsibility, accessibility to facilities you need to take care of children or elders in the family at an affordable rate, making more time for the activities and people that matter most to you and higher pay for the work you do.
In addition, most people would cherish getting more off time to pursue other dreams, for personal fitness, sports and hobbies, and for voluntary community service, which is all pretty much off the agenda now that the little time you get is already booked by your family.
However, there is a reason why we put up with less than ideal conditions in our employment. It has to do with fear. With times always just coming out of a recession or heading for one, people are afraid of losing their own security if they speak up for an enjoyable or at least fully workable job environment.
Managing work/life balance by the book?
Yet it is still possible to engineer a more balanced life – and it’s not by allotting the same amount of hours to work, play and family either. As some thinkers have said, all you need to have done at the end of each day is to have achieved something significant and to have enjoyed yourself as well. The how and the when may vary from day to day, but it doesn’t matter.
You see, life is unpredictable so that any plan you may work out will leak at every seam. If it doesn’t, you’d have to be a machine! In addition, you’re dealing with people, so they will have their full share of changeability, sudden demands, urgent needs, and crises.
While these will rewrite your preset plan of enjoying balance and family time, you cannot safely neglect them either without endangering your well-being in the long run.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Thus the only safe option for you to keep more your balance is to choose to focus on the situations and steps, which are within your control. Decide how much time you can give to them and what kind of attention you choose to pay to them.
When you know what your priority is, in other words, you can start enjoying the benefits of achievement while not compromising on your enjoyment either. After all, enjoying your life with a sense of self-worth, significance and purpose is what balancing work and life is all about!
Here are ten ways to balance work with your life:
- Don’t bring management principles home, because people are more important than things. Thus stopping dinner preparations and blessing your child with undivided attention for five minutes while she shows you her latest discovery is more fruitful and productive than ticking ’20 minutes of coloring time’ off your list later.
- People don’t like to think that they are relegated to the ‘unimportant and non-urgent’ category, which is what happens when you ‘manage’ your balance too rigidly. Instead, we need to understand that including time for people to keep in touch, even without anything in particular to say is part of remaining human. Of course, the exception to this is the person who does harm by bringing you hurtful criticism or gossip; avoid this type of person at all costs.
- Build free time into your schedule by learning to say NO. This will prevent you from overloading yourself with every task you’re offered or delegated. Only half the things on your plan will actually work out, so you’d be better off if you plan this way rather than running around trying to find out why things aren’t happening and fixing them.
- Delegate all tasks that aren’t crucial to your goals. You must be able to make the most of the goal that was actually offered to you. This can’t happen if you insist on doing it all yourself. And the principle holds good at home too. You can share or exchange your household chores with friends, paying them back with other chores, which they find laborious but are rewarding, to you. This will not only cement your relationships but allows you all the time to enjoy what you do.
- Chart relaxing or challenging activities with family or friends into your calendar well ahead. This not only gives you the excitement of anticipation but pushes you to manage your work more efficiently so you can be on vacation, or relaxation, at the time you planned.
- Another important step is to downgrade the time you spend doing activities which actually sap your energy or fritter away your time, instead of contributing to the task you have already planned as necessary and productive.
- Plan exercise – it gives you a sense of fulfillment as well as boosting your energy and attention span. It’s also precious time to be alone with yourself or with your friends if you prefer group workouts.
- Avoid perfectionism – stop once your job is good enough to run smoothly.
- Remember that you don’t have to do an extreme makeover all at once. Start small – just one hour of family time more a week. Just two days of exercise a week, to begin with, will soon pay off.
- Appreciate your family and the work they make for you as your best form of self-realization. Achievement isn’t materialistic, but spiritual. This is the biggest lesson we learn and it comes from enjoying your family and blessing them with your time and loving attention.
The benefits are numerous. As you focus on enjoying the moment, you‘ll find yourself becoming more efficient, strangely enough. You’ll be able to manage more responsibilities with greater ease, at home, in the workplace and outside in the community. You’ll find yourself less stressed, more supportive of others and more productive at home and at work.
So go ahead, and enjoy these great advantages of achieving work-life balance!