In a world where more of us find ourselves working in roles that could be considered “always on” jobs, how do we achieve and maintain work-life balance and how do companies promote this way of life? It is a challenge to say the least. Do you think your work and home life are balanced? For many people they are not… Answer these questions:-
• Is your life off-balance?
• What’s your ideal type of balance?
• What do you do when you’re too busy or too quiet?
• Does technology hinder… or help?
Here are 5 ways that can help you improve your work life balance:-
1. Be open about your needs. Identify what truly matters to you and communicate it. Don’t hide it and don’t expect others to guess what makes you feel balanced and fulfilled. Do you need to leave work at 5 p.m. so you can have dinner with your family? Do you need to step away at noon to attend a yoga class? Whatever your sweet spot is you need to find it and be transparent about it. Employees need to have an open dialogue with their managers and managers need to understand what works and what is possible. Different jobs require different approaches, but everyone can benefit from having an open and honest conversation about what balance means.
2. Respect boundaries. You cannot achieve your balance if you don’t respect the boundaries you’ve put in place. It will be hard in the beginning but you need to stick with it so you develop a routine and drive a culture and lifestyle of predictability. It’s always possible to do another job: there is always another email to reply to or a problem to answer, but you need to respect your OWN boundaries. If you don’t then you can’t expect others to respect them.
3. Understand what really matters. Too many people spend too much time working on things that don’t really matter. Time is the most valuable commodity in life: it is the one thing you cannot buy more of. So, don’t waste time. Focus on what really matters. Prioritise like mad!
4. Embrace the “off” button. Pretty much every piece of technology has an off button, so use it. It’s difficult but don’t bring your mobile phone to the dinner table. Don’t bring your tablet to the beach. Once you have done it a few times, it gets easier.
5. Pace yourself. To have a long, healthy, productive and happy life and career you need to understand the value of pace. Of course there are times when you need to throttle up: likewise, you can throttle down sometimes. Self-awareness is crucial. Doing this will help you enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Sue Washington has dedicated her life to helping people. From early days as a school teacher she trained psychotherapists to an exacting National standard. Her thrust in her later years has been to help people realise their power. You can ask her a question directly at www.suewashington.com or call 01772 617663.