The term “work -life balance” is a term that gets bandied around as if it were a luxury for those who are earning a high income, but in truth it’s not a luxury. It’s a necessity for us all. This statement may raise some eyebrows, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet. Yet it is always important where you draw the line when you have to focus on other elements of your life: health, family, friends, self development and personal interests. Work life balance is about living in harmony with your personal needs and desires.
What are some of the benefits of achieving a healthy work life balance?
- Weight loss
- Career Development
- Improvement of relationships
- More Productivity
- Sense of fulfilment and accomplishment
- Dealing with the pressures of family life in a new way
- Alleviation of work based stress
- Confidence to pursue an interest
- More exercise – focus on health
- Personal development
So how do I know I have a healthy work life balance?
A useful tool is called the ‘Balance Wheel’
- Take time to reflect on each element of the wheel. Focus on elements at which you currently spend the majority of your time.
- Using the diagram, draw a mark to rate each element from 0 -10 in terms of how happy you are with each element. (Zero is deeply unhappy, 10 is delirious)
- As you are filling this out, note that some points will not be the same rating. Some elements in your life may be great, some may require improvement.
- Now connect all the points on the wheel
- What you are possibly left with is a funny shaped diagram – this is a snapshot of your life balance presently.
How do I achieve a healthy work life balance?
Everybody is a unique individual and has a different set of circumstances. You may be highly ambitious, focusing on your career, working in your community, but have limited success in relationships.
In some cases, people are highly ambitious, achieving a successful career or attaining financial security or some personal goals. Ask yourself, at what cost would you sacrifice the other elements of your life? Would you risk losing your family, friends, health etc?
On the flip side, you may see work-life balance as a luxury. However I challenge you - how will you change your financial situation? Do you feel like you have limited options or are stuck in a rut? Granted there are times when you need to focus on work, but working 24/7 is not sustainable. You may be resilient, and for long periods of time burn the candle at both ends, but eventually you will start running low and your health will begin to suffer, both at a physical and mental level.
There will come a time when you say to yourself, “Enough is enough, there has to be a better way”.
Now as you read this, do you feel like you are a human being or a human doing?
While it may seem difficult to achieve a healthy work - life balance, you do have options. So, to start on your path to change, ask yourself “What needs to change?” It can be done on a personal level, with some reflection, focus and attention. You could also seek support from someone close to you, or alternatively you could seek a professional to facilitate the change process.
Coaching is a proven method to explore your personal options, and to seek to achieve a better work life balance.