Can you define work-life balance? Will that definition apply to the guy who gets to work 15 minutes early every morning? How about your neighbor as she runs to her car in a mad dash to be on time?
Some define work-life balance in today's world as work-life harmony. It means you take time for yourself each day and have room to breathe but still feel you accomplished a good day's work.
For other's a balanced home and work life may be a 55-hour workweek followed by extended family vacations.
How do you find work-life balance for yourself, and is it really that important? To answer that, you must first know what work-life balance is. What it looks like for you, and why you should try to achieve it.
Balancing Work and Life – A Usable Definition
Very simply put, work-life balance is adjusting your time and mental energy equally between work and life outside of work. Ideally, you can complete all tasks at work with minimal stress and still have the energy to pursue outside interests.
Getting this balance doesn't mean you have to divide the hours between work and personal time equally. But more that you feel fulfillment and purpose in your personal and professional life regardless of how you allocate the time.
Balancing your time can be challenging when you have increased responsibilities at work that cause you to work longer hours or an increase in demand for your attention at home.
"Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life."—Dolly Parton
Your Work-Life Balance Changes Over Time
If time isn't the determining factor in managing work and home life, why so many time management and productivity apps? Because there is no one-size-fits-all solution, people try fitting themselves into the latest hodge-podge solution box.
The solution won't be found in time hacking apps, nor will it appear in a list of productivity software. Nope. The answer is in the place most people forget to search, which is within themselves.
Why is it essential to have a balance between work and play? Because "all work and no play make Johnny a dull boy?" It's seldom that simple.
Understanding why this balance is important to you is essential if you want to achieve it. It will also take effort to learn when to say “no” without feeling guilty, prioritize the most important things, and ultimately simplify your life.
Answer those questions with flexibility in mind because what balance looks like today may be very different in 6 months. You just never know when a pandemic will hit and shut down the world.
How do you determine your definition of work-life balance? Reena Vokoun says there are three factors to consider when deciding what works best for you.
DEFINING YOUR WORK-LIFE BALANCE
1.) Understand your values and needs –
Figure out what is important to you and know your core values. Where and on what do you need to focus on so you can remain true to your values? When you determine what matters most, you can decide how best to divide your time and efforts.
2.) What does your family need? –
Do you have established routines at home? Maybe you share responsibilities with your spouse or significant other such as laundry, helping kids with homework or meal preparation and being absent would increase their workload.
Discuss the changes you would like to make and consider the feelings of everyone in the family. Doing so will enable them to participate in the changing schedule. Family members who plan life together, when it's appropriate, will buy into the changes and make the transition much smoother.
HOW ABOUT TRY CONTACTING YOUR ORGANIZATION'S EAP?
DON'T HAVE AN EAP? WE CAN HELP WITH THAT!
3.) Know what is expected of you in the workplace –
If you've been there a while, you have a pretty good understanding of how things work. The pandemic may have switched things up a bit, and maybe you work from home now. If so, how are you expected to account for the time you work?
If you are in a supervisory position, how do you keep a cohesive team? What is your responsibility to team members? How do you adjust your schedule to meet worker's and family needs?
When you know what is expected of you at work, you can match it to what your family needs at home. As time goes on, you may need to readjust your priorities, so you don't compromise the important things in your life.
Why your life should be balanced – Not all work and not all play, get a little of both every day
Not the best rhyme there, but it gets the point across.
One of the top ten leading causes of death in the United States is workplace stress. Employees often feel like they have no choice when their employer asks them for something. But they do. You do. Agreeing to take on more work than you can handle does one thing, it causes stress. You can say no.
• Say no to things that are not priorities
• Choose only things that are priorities & let go of the rest
• Delegate whenever possible
• Choose you Prioritize your wellbeing
When your stress level decreases, your quality of work increases, as does your efficiency, which also increases your chance of success. Some of the most successful people have strong boundaries that allow them the opportunity to enjoy both components of their lives.
Probably the most important reason (in my opinion) for creating and maintaining a work-life balance is to improve your relationships both at work and at home.
Humans need connections. We wither and die without them. When you are constantly working, those connections with the people you love suffer. And when you are with family, you are tired and cranky, and no one wants to be around you. That's not quality time.
Being present and giving your full attention to the people you love gives them a precious gift. Your time. Building strong relationships at home helps you connect at work as well. And when all those connections are functioning as they should, you will feel more positive about your life and your career.
As you learn to define your work-life balance, remember that what works for you may not work for others. If you are in management, be flexible to your team's needs. If you are an employee, learn to ask for what you need and say no to things that will make you feel overwhelmed.
Being in control of your life is a great feeling. It allows you to be your best self while helping others to the best of your ability.
Hundreds of organizations support their employees through The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Investing in the right EAP to support your employees before, during and after they face adverse events will help them and help you. Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866-648-8326.
When you partner with Ulliance, our Life Advisor Consultants are always just a phone call away to teach ways to enhance your work/life balance and increase your happiness. The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program can help employees and employers come closer to a state of total well-being.
Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you. Visit www.ulliance.com, or call 866-648-8326.
The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
• Stress about work or job performance
• Crisis in the workplace
• Conflict resolution at work or in one’s personal life
• Marital or relationship problems
• Child or elder care concerns
• Financial worries
• Mental health problems
• Alcohol/substance abuse
• Interpersonal conflicts
• AND MORE!
Moulder, H. (n.d.). 10 Reasons Why Work Life Balance Is Important (2021 Edition). Retrieved from Inside-Out Success Blog: https://www.coursecorrectioncoaching.com/reasons-why-work-life-balance-is-important/
Reena Vokoun. (2021, 7 21). Work-Life Balance Looks Different for Everyone - Here’s How to Define Yours. Retrieved from SWAY: https://swaay.com/work-life-balance-looks-different-for-everyone-heres-how-to-define-yours
Sanfilippo, M. (2021, October 29). How to Improve Your Work-Life Balance Today. Retrieved from Business News Daily: https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5244-improve-work-life-balance-today.html