In today’s hectic world where there is often a need to juggle a demanding career alongside a busy personal life, balance is something most of us have contemplated, worried about and strived for at some stage in our career. But how do we define it and is it really attainable?
More emphasis on work life balance is needed
When it comes to work-life balance, the UK hasn’t got a great reputation, with an average Briton putting in an average of 39.2 hours per week, but many working much more. Technology doesn’t help, offering us the ability to be online 24:7. The fine line between work and home life can be so easily skewed, often leading to a detrimental effect on key areas of our life, and usually our work suffers too. We live in a world where ‘success’ can often be perceived alongside long hours, being on call and a perception that to really stand out, our career should often take priority over everything else in our life.
So how do we define work-life balance?
You’ll find lots of definitions, but for me there really isn't a one size fits all. We all lead different lives with different priorities, passions and dreams. We each have a different set of values which define who we are and what makes us happy. The definition of balance also changes over time - what we want from our life in our 20s may not be the same in our 30s or 40s. For me, the best work-life balance is when you generally feel happy, healthy and able to spend time on all the areas of your life that truly fulfil you.
It’s great to see employers really starting to engage with the well-being agenda, and
with the emergence of dedicated wellbeing policies to support employees, there is a growing recognition that it needs to be central to the way that organisations operate. However a culture of presenteeism is still very real, and every individual has a responsibility to change that.
Here are my 7 top tips for you to balance what matters amid a busy career and life..
1. Define your happy. Understand what’s really important to you. It sounds simple but when was the last time you actually really thought about that? Consider your life as a whole and what truly feeds your energy. Reflect on your family, relationships, career and what you like to do for fun. Allow yourself to think big picture. In your perfect world how would you be spending your time, and how does it compare to your present?
2. Choose the right job. Research shows that those who are most satisfied and motivated by their work are in careers which reflect who they really are; careers which reflect their true nature and their real passions, draw on their innate strengths, honour their deeply held values and employ their favourite skills.. Are you getting up in the morning feeling truly fulfilled or are you continuing in your job just because?
3. Small goals lead to big changes. It’s one thing knowing you need to spend more time on other things, finding the time is another - right? You don’t need to turn your world upside down to introduce some positive changes. Small steps are very powerful. Think about an area you want to spend more time on. Maybe it’s a new hobby, seeing an old friend, making more time for your family. Find a free hour in your week. Don’t just think about doing it, schedule it in your diary, then stick to it. The key thing is taking action.
4. Reduce the noise. It’s so common to feel like your day just disappears without achieving what you set out to do. Really scrutinise how you spend your working day. Think about the tasks which are truly making an impact to your overall goals and those that are zapping your time. Be selfish with your time and reduce the noise. Max out every hour and you’ll enjoy the results it brings.
5. Say no. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of saying no. You really can’t do it all and you have responsibility to control how you prioritise your time. Eliminate the guilt and have the courage to say no politely. You’ll earn more respect, whilst giving yourself back some all important time to focus on what matters.
6. Look after you. It’s widely known that stress, mental exhaustion and fatigue affects your ability to work productively. Ensure you always make time for exercise, eat well, enjoy regular fresh air and have a good nights sleep. If you look after yourself, you’ll boost your energy levels, feel more alert and be able to concentrate much better during your working day.
7. Protect your peace. Hit the off button and guard your private time. Set your own clear boundaries and then respect them. Switch your phone off and enjoy your downtime. And ensure your holidays are just that - the more you cross the line and allow work to creep in, the more others will expect that of you and the cycle will continue.
For more information from Accelerista Coaching, visit their website.