Creating a Better Work/Life Balance

Futurists and scientists in the last century spoke in glowing terms of the coming of an age of leisure. Automation and computing would take over, they said, liberating the individual to pursue a rich, rewarding and balanced life. Instead, this is what modern life in the western world has actually turned out to be.

  • The employed work harder and longer.
  • The unemployed live in straitened circumstances.
  • Stress levels are climbing ever upward.
  • An increasing number of households have both parents at work
  • In single-parent homes, the parent has to work inhuman hours just to make ends meet.

Work/Life balance education is a tool to boost productivity, and improve the quality of life, by teaching people to higher levels of both achievement & enjoyment every day, on as well as off the job, attempt to achieve better management of the individual’s projects as well as relationships.

To achieve a better work/life balance, think about what really matters to you. Getting your priorities organized is the first, most essential step on the road to a well-balanced life. Remember, figure out what YOU want, not what you THINK your priorities should be. Take a couple of days off from work. Ask yourself

  • If your life had to focus on just one single thing, what would it be
  • If you could add a secondary focus, what would that be
  • If you could add a third focus, what would that be
  • If you could add a fourth focus, what would that be
  • And so on

If you answer yourself honestly, the result would give you your list of top five personal priorities. In most cases, a top-five list tends to include the following, in any order:

  • Kids
  • Spouse/ life partner
  • Career
  • Success
  • Job satisfaction
  • Religion/spirituality
  • Community service
  • Health
  • Sports/activities
  • Art
  • Hobbies
  • Adventure/travel

The key is to know your priorities and devote your complete attention to a single priority at a time. Split up your total timeline, all your time, so that you think about work at work and pay attention to family when you are home.

Also, be sure to get rid of unnecessary activities. Once you have a list of what really matters, you need not devote much time to activities that are not a priority. Try to drop commitments and pursuits which are not on your top-five list. Unnecessary activities will only keep you away from things that do matter.

We all think twice before canceling work, or a doctor’s appointment, but forget that our private time deserves the same respect. Guard personal time just as positively, and keep work and distractions from intruding. If work interferes constantly with your personal time, discuss adjustments with the boss. Show him that you deliver better results in fewer hours and that job performance cannot be judged merely in terms of hours. If you are self-employed, create boundaries that prevent work from intruding.

Accept help from your partner, family members, or friends to balance your life, for example, let them watch the kids or run an errand leaving you free to focus on other priorities. Work on a tag-team system, by turns. Get more solo time with your partner and accept a friend’s offer to babysit, or better still, arrange a regular trade-off with another couple. Don’t forget to plan fun and relaxation. Until taking time for yourself becomes a habit, set aside planner space for relaxation and fun. Plan and make arrangements, to ensure that you keep your commitment.

Companies also need to think about work/life balance provisions like those for maternity leave, dependent care leave parental leave, and an increase in the level of rights for part-time workers. They realize that getting the right work-life balance for employees can lead to considerable payoffs in terms of employee retention, commitment, efficiency, quality of work, etc. Flexible employment policies also provide powerful recruitment incentives, attracting new employees with superior skills.

By Jia Mata

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