Work Life Balance
What is work life balance, should we strive for it and how do we achieve it? Nowadays we hear a lot about work-life balance, usually when people are feeling over-worked, stressed and not spending their time doing the things they think they would like to do. We are living in a constantly changing world. The pace of life is faster than it has ever been, and despite all the technology to make our time more efficient we seem to be packing more into our lives than ever before and striving to earn the money we need to live the materialistic life that is promoted in our world today. So is it any wonder that we feel that there is a loss of balance between our personal and working lives?
So how should our lives look?
Now this is the tricky one. Some people will advocate that an even balance of time spent on our working lives, family and friends, developing relationships, building a positive environment around us, being financially stable and taking exercise constitutes a perfect balance.
Whilst I would generally agree that we should at least consider the impact of all of these in our lives as they impact upon each other, I don’t think it is as simple as that. We all have very different values (i.e. things that are important to us) so your own perfect work life balance will look very different from the next person’s.
For example if you are a mother of three children you may value your time with your family and also may value the sense of achievement or contribution you get from your work but also appreciate taking time out to relax on your own . If these are all important to you then your ideal life and work balance would incorporate these three elements.
If on the other hand you are an entrepreneur you may value the sense of achievement you get from building your business or value the financial wealth you get as a result of it and you may be so driven to fulfil these values that you will prefer to spend the majority of your time on these activities. If this is you, your perfect work-life balance may be the opportunity to spend most of your time on your business with enough time out to recharge your batteries by taking exercise or relaxing with friends.
The problem arises when we lose sight of what is really important to us or we take it for granted. For example if you are that entrepreneur so motivated by your business you might find yourself so focused on your work and may neglect to spend time with your family. After prolonged absences your family might decide that they have had enough and no longer want to be part of your life and all of a sudden you might discover that your family was more important that you had thought!
Or if you are that busy mother juggling work and family but neglect to look after your health eventually you may find that you are unable to effectively to do anything.
So in creating a successful balance between life and work think firstly about what is important to you (your values) and consider also what it is you take for granted. Once you are clear on what is important to you then think how you can create a life that encompass all of these.
To help you think about your values have a look at the Values Elicitation Exercise which will help you to start thinking about what is important to you.
Values Elicitation Exercise
The Challenges Of Creating A Work Life Balance
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