Finding a balance between work and life can be a difficult
process for most of us but it is attainable. For example, even if you cannot
control the number of hours you put into work, you can control how to cope with
stressors so you can enjoy your life. Work – life balance boosts productivity
by attaining a higher level of achievement and enjoyment every day, both on and
off the job.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, seven days a week,
yet some people seem to do so much in one week, while others feel like they
have accomplished very little. Improving your quality of life means finding a
balance between your work and personal life.
Constructing an effective life-balance strategy helps your
health, daily mood, positive outlook, family and workplace relations. The key
is to emphasise the “balance” factor. Expending physical or psychological
energy too strongly on any one component typically compromises the carefully
constructed balance you created.
Achieving work-life balance begins with knowing who you are
as a person and what you need in order to be happy. Sometimes this means
sitting down with your partner or by yourself and determine what you value most
of all, and what you value as a couple. It’s all right to value raising a
family and it’s all right to value pursuing a career. You just need to be
really clear and sometimes painfully honest about what your highest value is so
you can make life-affirming decisions, both big and small, with these values in
When we have balance in our lives we feel able to fulfil
multiple responsibilities without feeling guilty; being able to maintain
productivity at work while having enough time to relax with friends and family.
We feel that we have a sense of control over our lives, for example keeping up
with deadlines or making time to go to the gym, making informed choices rather
than forced decisions such as choosing to work overtime rather than having to
in order to make ends meet.
Warning signs that your work-life may be out of balance
constantly tired. This can affect productivity at work and / or relationships
at home with your friends and family.
as if you have little time for home life, including missing social activities
with friends and family members and limited time to nurture relationships.
as if you are running uphill all the time and getting nowhere. Difficulty in
finding motivation and enjoyment in your work and life.
- Having a
sense that life seems to be happening to you instead of you feeling that you
are managing your life.
- You see
more negative than positive in your life.
Achieving your desired work-life balance
By creating and maintaining a strong life-balance you can
improve your personal and professional existence. Like any other habit – good
or bad – once established, it will be difficult to break and you won’t want to
change this one. The life-balance factor will also help you improve your work
performance and further your career. Often people who have balance in their
life are generally more fulfilled than those who feel there is something
missing in their life.
How you spend your time depends on:
values and beliefs – Because your values and beliefs determine your priorities
and how you spend your time, it is important that they are aligned with the
results you are seeking. For example, feeling inadequate, not being good
enough or needing approval from others may find you doing things to please others
and putting your own needs and goals last. You may find that you are always
running out of time to do things for yourself.
meaning you give to things – You’ve probably noticed how you’re motivated to do
the things you really enjoy, how you do those things and how effortlessly you
make the time to do them. By changing the meaning you give to the things
you dislike doing, you will change your motivation toward doing those things
and making time to do them will be easier.
behaviours and actions – Instead of focusing on all the things you want to do
in your day and therefore getting overwhelmed, try to focus on one thing at a
time and you will reduce the stress and achieve a faster result. Spend 10
minutes at the end of each week reviewing your successes over the past week and
then plan the week ahead, including when you will make time for your goals and
have some time out for you.
This will ensure that you have the balance you desire each
week and when you achieve greater balance you will feel even more
By aligning your values and beliefs with your desired
results, changing the meaning you give to activities so that you enjoy the
journey of achieving them and planning your desired life balance, you will
become a master of your time and find greater fulfilment in your life!
For more information
Emma Roberts, Employee Assistance Programme Counsellor
T: 949 9559