A Harvard Business School survey reveals that a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week.
These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss incentivize longer hours.
Work–life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between “work” (career and ambition) and “lifestyle” (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
A Work-Life Balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrewarding and unrealistic. Life is and should be more fluid than that.
There are no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for. The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.
However, at the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. They are daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity.
Achievement and Enjoyment are the front and back of the coin of value in life. You can’t have one without the other, no more than you can have a coin with only one side. Trying to live a one-sided life is why so many “Successful” people are not happy, or not nearly as happy as they should be.
Ask yourself now, when was the last time you Achieved and Enjoyed something at work? What about Achieved and Enjoyed with your family; your friends? And how recently have you Achieved and Enjoyed something just for you?
Here are tips to a Work-life balance:
1. Let go of perfectionism– It’s easier to maintain a perfectionist habit as a kid, but as you grow up, life gets more complicated. As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom. Perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive
2. Unplug– Technology has helped our lives in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. The workday never seems to end; there are times when you should just shut your phone off and enjoy the moment.
3. Exercise & Meditate- Even when we’re busy, we make time for the crucial things in life. We eat. We go to the bathroom. We sleep. And yet one of our most crucial needs – exercise – is often the first thing to go when our calendars fill up. Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body.
4. Limit time-wasting activities and people- First, identify what’s most important in your life. This list will differ for everyone, so make sure it truly reflects your priorities, not someone else’s. Next, draw firm boundaries so you can devote quality time to these high-priority people and activities.
5. Change the structure of your life- Sometimes we fall into a rut and assume our habits are set in stone. Take a birds-eye view of your life and ask yourself: What changes could make life easier?
6. Start small- When you’re trying to change a certain script in your life, start small and experience some success. Build from there!
Why not take some minutes this weekend and do something just for yourself? Think about whether you want to focus on achieving or enjoying at home this weekend. Reflect on the joy of your job, and the joy of life, every day. If nobody pats you on the back today, pat yourself on the back. And help others to do the same.
So, make it happen, for yourself, your family and all the important individuals you care about…every day for the rest of your life… Achieve and Enjoy.