A Balancing Act – How to Achieve a Work-Life Balance
‘Time is the most valuable commodity in life; it is the one thing you cannot buy more of.”
Statistics show that when we are able to achieve a healthy work-life balance, we become much better leaders, employees, spouses, parents and friends. We then find ourselves living happier, healthier, and more productive. But how do people achieve and maintain work-life balance and how do companies and leaders promote this way of life?
Every day millions of people wrestle with these questions. We live in a country where 70% of American workers struggle with finding a healthy work-life system as more and more people find themselves working in roles that could be considered “always on” jobs. In this article, we outline five ways in which a work-life balance can be better attained and maintained through promise and growth as individuals and professional communication in our workplaces.
Define Success for Yourself
Instead of just letting life happen, people who achieve work-life balance make deliberate choices about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time. Having a strong sense of who you are, your values, and what is important to you will enable you to better achieve success. Knowing what makes you happy and striving to get more of that will set the framework for what your ideal work-life balance should look like.
Build Support Networks
People who have achieved good balance have a strong support network that they can depend on to help them get through difficult times. A support network that is aware of your goals and intentions is crucial both in and outside of the workplace in order to achieve a work-life balance.
Communicate Your Needs
Losing a work-life balance is usually a result of letting things slide or slip through as opposed to any kind of intentional decision. Those who are good at staying on track make conscious decisions to continually talk to the important people in their lives about what is working and what is not, and make decisions to change direction if needed. Therefore, regular communication, both in and out of the office, is key in achieving a work-life balance. Different jobs require different approaches, but everyone can benefit from having an open and honest conversation about what balance means to them.
Set Boundaries and Respect Them
People who have managed to attain a work-life balance don’t wait to see what time is left over after their day of work, they make a point of planning and “booking” time off to spend outside of work and powerfully guard this time. And, while work emergencies do sometimes come up and situations arise that require their attention to shift back to work, they strongly resist any intrusion on this time. These individuals know and understand that you cannot achieve your balance if you don’t respect the boundaries you have put in place. This can be difficult at first, but once done continually; you will develop a routine and drive a culture of lifestyle and predictability.
Turning off distractions and managing technology can, for many people, be the hardest part of work-life balance as we live in a world that’s constantly connected. But, when you unplug and step back you will start to experience a true perspective. It’s important to remind ourselves that time away from work and the computer is energizing and important. Scheduling downtime from technology requires a combination of time management, working ahead when possible, and keeping a to-do list. When technology allows us to essentially be in two places at once, the valued undivided attention is greatly diminished.
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