We hear a lot about the importance of finding balance in life. Mainly in the corporate world, companies claim they have discovered the secret that guarantees their personnel the equilibrium many can only dream of. But what is work-life balance really about? Is it really possible, or is it just a utopic dream? How can you achieve it and live a fulfilled life?
The Problem With Work-Life Balance
Let’s start by making something clear from the start: Working isn’t the problem. The fact that you got the job of your dreams, the one you fought so hard for, isn’t the issue. Work pays the bills. While money isn’t everything, it’s what “sponsors” dreams. Working itself isn’t the source of evil but maybe the way you work is.
Some of the signs you lack work-life balance are the following.
Long Office Hours
It’s quite common to see people spending 10, 12 or more hours at work. Some may say it’s an honorable dedication. But what about the rest? If you spend (close to) half of your day in the office, when do you have time for:
- Your family?
- Physical activity?
Even though it’s not the ideal scenario, it might happen that you go over the top for a while because of a deadline or a project. But don’t let it last longer than it should.
Too Much Work
Too much of a good thing is still too much. Even that delicious raw protein coffee cake shouldn’t be eaten all at once. When it comes to work, there’s only so much you can do in a day. That’s assuming you want to deliver a qualitative job. It’s hard to stay focused all the time. And it’s almost impossible when you have to keep it up for long hours. Learning how to say no is an art you may want to master to stay balanced.
Little Private Time (You’re Always Accessible)
At first, having a company phone was a sign of status, mainly when having a mobile wasn’t for everyone. Nowadays, though, many see it as the risk of being called at odd hours for working issues. It makes no difference even if you’re on vacation or home sick depending on the company you work for or your position. Daring not to pick up a call may be seen as an act of negligence or irresponsibility.
Setting limits is crucial to balance your professional and private life.
Competition itself stimulates both professional and personal growth. We see that in sports every day. How many feel more motivated to work out in group than alone? Sometimes, the simple idea of having someone around already boosts your results.
But in the professional world, unless it’s backed up by good management, competition frequently leads to practices that jeopardize the equilibrium between work and life.
Because you don’t want to stay stagnant forever, you invest in building a career. In other words, you get out there to compete with others, in the same company or not, to increase your salary, change departments or earn better perks. To stay relevant, some opt to do extra work, apply for various projects and join groups or associations.
This sincere effort may lead to an unbalanced lifestyle in the long run if one isn’t careful.
Why Should You Care About Work-Life Balance?
You know that certain things in life are priceless. And I’m not talking about material things. It’s important that you seek for balancing work and life. This way you can enjoy both without any negative side effects. Some of these are as follows.
That stress is bad for you is no news. While getting rid of it is almost impossible, it is manageable. And how do you manage it? By balancing your life.
If your life isn’t balanced, it’s easy to fall for less healthy habits like eating too much fast food or adopting a sedentary lifestyle. It’s important to make time to build a routine that allows you to keep on developing your career while taking care of yourself.
When working long days and taking your work everywhere becomes a routine, you’re on the right path to a burnout. Your body needs rest. Sleeping enough hours is crucial to your well-being. Without it, you can’t function properly.
If due to the results of overworking you get sick frequently, for instance, all your efforts to build a career can go down the drain. Instead of growth, you might even experience stagnation. How can you be assigned to a new project or be considered for a promotion if you can hardly keep up with what you have on your plate right now?
You put in effort to become a better professional. You invested years of your life and money to develop your professional life but you feel like you aren’t going anywhere. Something is missing and you may not even be able to identify it right away. When you’re home, with your family, you think about work. And when you get to the office, all you have in your mind is to return to your loved ones. You’re constantly frustrated and have no motivation.
Fulfillment is the Solution
Remember: There’s nothing wrong with working. You earned the position you have now and hopefully you love what you do. Why would you give up your career when it’s such an important thing to you? Yes, your family and your wellness are important too but you shouldn’t use them as an excuse.
What you really need, and what will support your work-life balance efforts, is fulfillment! Rethink your priorities and make time for them. You probably won’t be able to achieve everything you want but you’ll have what matters to you the most. Focus your attention to become more productive both at home and at the office. Multitasking isn’t the answer. It’s both tiring and inefficient.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It can be a coach or someone who’ll help you with household tasks. They’ll surely save you some headaches and help you focus on your priorities.
And above all: Take one step a time. Enjoy yourself to achieve fulfillment and a balanced lifestyle.