Are You Achieving Work And Life Balance?
In all the years of working with therapy clients, one of the struggles experienced was the juggling act of work and lifestyle. All felt like they were puppets being pulled by string in all directions, which resulted in them feeling guilty when they were at home because they felt the need to work, and guilty at work because they were not spending quality time with the family.
Our career advisor professional, Leah Lambart from Relaunch Me has written another amazing article with great stategies for you to put into place to achieve the balance in your lifestyle.
In some professions, it is incredibly difficult to identify what work/life balance should look like and how to accomplish it. Everyone seems to be on the treadmill; working late, coming in early, eating at your desk and working weekends, not to mention that we are on 24/7 with modern technology and social media. The problem is that lack of work/life balance over an extended period can lead to burnout, which often sneaks up on people and isn’t recognised until it is too late. Burnout can be dangerous, so it is important that people understand the symptoms ahead of time.
What are the signs that you are not achieving work/ life balance?
Symptoms that suggest you don’t have a good work/life balance include working for long periods without leaving your desk, taking work home every night, checking emails when you should be ‘present’ with family or friends, working weekends and eating lunch and dinner at your desk. More severe symptoms may include consistent health problems such as headaches, back or neck pain, constant fatigue or insomnia. Other signs that you are heading for burnout may include a negative attitude, loss of confidence, inability to concentrate, losing your temper, crying for little or no reason and feeling detached from friends and family.
Strategies for improving work/life balance
The first step to improve your balance is to make some choices about what you want out of life. What are your most important values and how do you wish to spend your time.
The next step is to start communicating at work and home about what needs to change to make sure your values are carried out.
• Set some expectations collaborating with colleagues and clients about when you will and won’t be working, so people don’t expect you to be available 24/7.
• Learn to say ‘no’ occasionally to new projects and extra commitments that will eat up your time and won’t contribute to achieving either your work or personal objectives, which is particularly important for those personality types that are very service-oriented and tend to put other’s needs before their own.
• Ask for extra resources if you need them.
• Delegate where you can to free up your time for what is most important.
• Brainstorm any small changes you can make that will have a significant impact overall; such as forcing yourself to have a lunch break several times a week to exercise, leaving the office at 5 pm twice a week to have dinner with the family or having lunch with a friend rather than a work colleague.
Setting aside personal time
The final step is to plan and set aside personal time to make sure you are spending time with friends and family that is free from intrusion. Set some ground rules regarding turning off electronic devices for a specified period every evening and weekend that will allow you to give your full attention to those people and the activities that are most important to you. Plan a holiday every year and try and follow a daily routine that includes some time for yourself every week that is unrelated to your career.
Work/life balance is necessary to maintain health and well-being on a long-term basis. If you are experiencing some of the signs outlined above, perhaps it is time to think about what work/life balance means to YOU. Forget about your colleagues, think about what YOU are willing to accept and strive to make some small changes to express your definition of work/life balance.
Read more of Leah's articles in the career section of Cazinc Blog.
How do you create work and life balance? We would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.
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