11 September is the start of Balance Awareness Week, which is about raising awareness about vestibular disorders.
Life-work balance has been a perennial topic on our blog for years. Do you love your work? Work and a career are an important, they help pay the bills and give us a sense of purpose but it’s important to remember that work is just a part of life but we need a balance away from the stress of the office to enjoy other aspects of our personal lives.
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful”, Albert Schweitzer.
A career is not enough. Your life should have meaning and ultimately you define your own success. It is only worthwhile if it allows you to enhance your life and the lives of others.
There’s no single formula that works for everyone, as life-work balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.
You need to make deliberate choices about which opportunities to pursue and which to decline, rather than simply reacting to events, so that you can engage meaningfully with work, family, and community.
In our 24/7 economy we still need to unwind and to feel in control of our lives. Think about the demands on your current professional and personal life – deciding when, where, and how to be accessible for work is an ongoing challenge, particularly for those with families.
The highly successful Danish businessman Martin Bjergegaard, interviewed by The Guardian, said that to succeed and be happy it’s not necessary to work extra-long hours that don’t allow family time. He suggests that we need to be more flexible. If working from home is sapping your energy, you should look for cheap shared space or divide your living quarters into work and not-work areas. “If it works, fine – if not, change it. Experiment. Don’t live with it.”
Establishing balance is a good idea, and positive thinking enhances a lifestyle that involves more than just the hours put in at work. But, worries about life balance can create even more stress and pressure it means you feel guilty about not spending quality time with the family.
Flex for engagement
Research by the CIPD into flexible working provisions discovered that seven out of 10 employers who offer flexible working arrangements find that it can have a positive effect, helping to support employee retention and improve motivation and productivity. For employees, being able to work flexibly was found to boost health and wellbeing. Workers who are satisfied with their life-work balance are more likely to be engaged with work and less likely to feel pressurised.
Your time is precious and you need to value that time and negotiate what you consider important. Evaluate your preferences, goals and priorities and list your work and general life priorities and the amount of time you spend on each. Could some of that time be better spent doing something more fulfilling?
If you need to make changes, then bite the bullet and take control – a healthier work-life balance will result in greater productivity and motivation.