Work-life balance is the ultimate dream, isn’t it? But in today’s digital world, it can be hard to strike the right balance between work life and home life. Technology has meant theoretically we can work any time of day or night – and that’s just one part of the problem.
Many professionals consider it okay to respond to work emails at the dinner table, for example. So it is no surprise that research shows 57% of parents struggle to find quality time to spend with their children.
It’s time to get serious about the elusive work-life balance. Here are four tips to get you started.
1 Remove the idea of balance
The first point to make is that ‘balance’ is not the right word to use; alternatives include work-life blend, work-life harmony or work-life integration. Instead of conveying the idea that one person can balance everything at once, it needs to be a more fluid idea. At times you will feel your days are equally shared between home and work, and at other times you will feel pulled strongly in just one direction. It is a continual process. Put simply, the idea of balance is unfeasible and chasing it will make you feel like a failure.
2 Recognise the benefits of self-care
Making time for yourself might not come naturally to you, but it’s important to be kind to yourself. Even if you feel like you are forcing yourself to do it, practising self-care means you can take a step back at the end of each day and focus on yourself. Self-care can help reduce the effects of stress, prevent burnout and keep you focused. It’s time we all made time for ourselves.
3 Find a new interest
Not everyone works in a job they are passionate about, but you might find meaning in alternative interests outside of work. Whether it is volunteering, sports or another group activity, finding a hobby you can share with others can be incredibly gratifying.
4 Understand it will take time
We all have different careers, commitments, priorities and goals, so getting the right blend of these will take time. Even if you are doing well, it may not feel like that to you. These three steps will help you figure it out:
- Be smart with your time: Whatever you want to achieve – changing career, spending more time with family or pursuing a new hobby – requires an element of time management. Making the time to do the things that are important to you is the only way to move forward.
- Set clear expectations and be vocal about them: It’s really important to surround yourself with people who are going to support you and the changes you are striving to make. Identify what you want to achieve and let those around you know, too.
- Keep working at it: Creating greater harmony is not something you work at, achieve and then forget about. There will be times when everything is going really well, and other times when you feel out of control. There will be highs and lows on your journey, but infinite opportunities to keep you moving in the right direction.
Life is refreshingly unpredictable and the idea that an individual can balance everything at once needs to end. Taking a fresh look at work-life blend/harmony/integration, being clear about what you want to achieve and not beating yourself up if things go wrong will set you on the road to a more meaningful life. If you’re looking for better work-life harmony, give us a call today.