Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our jobs that we forget how to live. We place so much emphasis on our work that it overwhelms everything else in our lives: family, friends, hobbies, vacations etc. This may work for a short period of time but not in the long term. If you are looking to find the right work-life balance, this article is for you.
Women, in particular, need to keep an eye on their physical and mental health, because if we’re scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don’t have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own ‘to do’ list.
During my coaching course, we had an exercise where we needed to draw a picture of the issue we wanted to solve. My picture was showing myself one headed but with many hands doing different stuff and from my head were popping up different thoughts and problems I needed to solve.
This was for the first time when I visualized the so called my “work-life balance” from a picture that I drew. When analyzing it I thought I was actually a superwoman and I was enjoying the fact that I could juggle with so many things and I had a great sense of utility.
Learn more: Are you suffering from Wonder Woman Syndrome?
In the same time in the long term, it wasn’t so healthy. For a long time, I didn’t do anything about my hobbies, or just sitting and not doing anything.
“Work-life balance” is a very present expression nowadays and it’s a quite debated theme. What does it mean for an employee, for a company or for a freelancer?
For me it’s hard to say now what’s work and what’s life, as taking care of a newborn is actually both .
In recent years, companies have begun investing in special workshops or counseling for employees, as it is well known that happier employees will generate more revenue.
Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.
In my first year as an employee
In my first year as an employee, being eager to learn as much as possible and show everybody that I was the right choice for the job I was employed in, I used to work late every day and also take work at home for the weekend to get things done. It was necessary as I was the only employee in the marketing department at that time and there was no one else to back me up.
It was going on for several months and it became something normal for me. At that time, I was already a wife and a mother and it was clear I didn’t spend much time with my family in this fight for success and recognition.
Luckily, after my husband had mentioned to me several times that what I was doing was not ok, I have taken the courage to ask my boss for at least one more employee in the department as it was impossible for one person to get all the things done within normal working hours. Quite soon I got a new colleague and things went smoothly from that point.
That was my first lesson about work-life balance. In the following years, every time I changed my role, no matter how important it was for me to learn and adapt, I wouldn’t let myself stay late more than in the first two months in each new role.
Apart from the benefit of spending more time with my family, I didn’t want to give a bad example to my team and moreover, I needed the energy to get results and be successful in the new role.
Of course, there were some exceptions with preparations for reviews or some very important and urgent tasks that were popping up. It was important to treat them as exceptions and not slip back to old habits.
Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.
During my extensive career, I met two types of employees.
The first type included employees for whom the job was their life and they could spend even 12 hours at work, even if it wasn’t necessary. This was giving them a sense of utility that they couldn’t find anywhere else.
The second type included employees who would stay at work from 9 to 5, no matter the amount of work and they would always respect their personal life.
It’s easy to judge any of them. In the same time in order to see what’s in it for each of the employees, we need to understand their needs.
If you have a work-life balance issue, try to find the source of it.
10 questions to help you find your work – life balance
I invite you to answer honestly the questions below and it will become clearer what brings you more value and makes you feel accomplished and you’ll figure out much easily which is the right path for you.
What makes you happy at work/at home?
What are the activities/things that give you energy?
What gives you a feeling of accomplishment?
What do you gain if you leave the work earlier?
What can you do in your spare time that would make you feel good?
How does this impact your performance at work? How does this impact the relationship with your family or friends?
How does this bring more value to your life?
What’s the most important thing in your life and how it is reflected in the daily schedule?
When someone is asked about you, what you would like to hear them say?
What’s the smallest thing that you can start doing today to feel a better work-life balance?
Choose your balance and don’t forget to play!
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