‘Work-life balance’ is a term you would frequently encounter in the workplace. It refers to an ideal state of equilibrium between your professional and personal lives.
Work-life balance can seem difficult to achieve, mainly due to the way we perceive the term. Traditionally, the term might suggest two distinct worlds — professional and personal — where we need to allocate an equal number of hours each to have a balanced life.
Here are ways you can change the way you think about work-life balance, to make it easier to achieve.
1) Start with Your Dreams
Think about your dreams: What do you love to do? Where do your satisfaction and happiness lie? Based on these answers, you can aim to improve your self-awareness, which can then help you achieve a more balanced approach in managing and structuring your life.
2) Forget About the Work-Life Dichotomy
Most people think that work-life balance is about equally dividing your time between your professional and personal lives, as though we exist in two different worlds. This way of thinking has made achieving this ideal very elusive. Instead of expecting a perfect ’50-50′, you could consider these two concepts more flexibly — set your own boundaries based on your needs, limitations, and the stage of life you are in.
Finding the right balance is key. A disproportionate amount of time devoted to your work may result in health concerns or reduce your quality time with your loved ones. On the other hand, overindulgence in your personal life may affect your performance and reputation in the workplace.
3) Think Beyond Your Professional Achievements
At times, you may forget that your life is more than the targets you need to meet or your need to impress others. Your overidentification with these professional concerns may obscure your true identity as an individual.
Your intrinsic value lies in who you are: your individual qualities and abilities as well as the varied relationships in your life (eg. with family, friends, colleagues). The work you do and your professional relationships are an extension of who you are.
4) Follow the Cyclical Nature of Ebb and Flow
You experience the rhythm of ebb and flow daily. As work ‘ebbs away’ at the end of the day, your personal life experiences an increase in the level of engagement or flow as you begin to immerse in activities such as chatting with your spouse, grocery shopping, or taking a brisk walk around the neighbourhood.
You need this constant ebb and flow in order to feel more balanced. If you constantly push yourself hard, you may experience burnout; if you take it too easy all the time, you may not make much progress and feel dissatisfied with your life.
In conclusion, achieving work-life balance starts with the way we think about our lives and how we deal with everyday tasks. Instead of thinking that we live in two separate worlds — professional and personal — we should remember that we only have one life, where there needs to be a good rhythm of ebb and flow, and devote a reasonable amount of time to our work as well as personal interests.
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