You may have heard from others that there’s no such thing as work-life balance. They will tell you that we don’t have separate work and personal lives. It’s a good argument. But it’s flawed.
True, we live and work at the same time, but we’re not necessarily doing what we want when we’re working. We report to others, supervise others, and have our day directed.
With a proper work-life balance, there is a separation between the two.
The Importance Of Work-Life Balance For Leaders
Work-life balance is important not because working is bad. Nor is play bad. But when we can’t find time for either one, trouble arises.
Think of the business executive who can’t shut off at the end of the workday. He finds himself mired in work. His phone is in his hand while he’s checking emails when he should be focused on his wife and children at home. Years later, after neglecting his personal responsibility, he finds himself divorced, lonely, and considered a bad father.
Or think of the person who plays all of the time. She’s free-spirited and fun. She’s out kite-boarding all of the time while the responsibilities of work are left to rot. After years of this kind of attitude, she’s homeless, broke, and wondering what went wrong.
Neither of the above options is good. There’s something wrong with working too much and playing too much. Finding the balance will help you keep your sanity, even your family!
Ways To Maintain And Achieve Work-Life Balance
You may be told that you can’t achieve work-life balance. That’s true to a certain extent. Work or life will always creep into your agenda. Whether it’s taking care of an aging parent or a critical work deadline, you will have to bend the balance. This doesn’t mean you can’t work toward a more balanced life.
There are four ways I want you to consider when balancing your work and personal life. These methods will help you find peace and calm amidst the chaos of work and play.
1. Set clear boundaries:
Boundaries may seem to limit, but they’re freeing. You tell yourself what you’re willing to accept in your personal and work life by setting boundaries.
Create boundaries for the hours that you’ll work. Create boundaries for the amount of business travel you’ll take. Create boundaries for how much time off you’re going to take. Create boundaries for what events you will attend.
These boundaries will give you freedom when work or personal life creeps in.
2. Use your lunch break to take care of personal issues:
We often forgo our lunch breaks to take care of urgent events in the office. This doesn’t have to be the case. Your lunch break is your own.
Your lunch break is a break in the middle of the day. It’s a perfect time to pull out your cell phone to make a call to a friend, loved one, or your child’s school. You may even have enough time to run to get your oil changed or enjoy a nice drink at your favorite coffee shop.
Don’t be afraid to boundary off your lunch break to get the things you need done, done.
3. Ask for flexibility:
The world of work sure has changed. We’re now working remotely or flex-time. This wasn’t the case 10 or 20 years ago when people were expected to be in the office from 9-5.
We’re open to flexibility now. You might be working on a project that is better suited to be completed at 9 PM. Ask for flexibility on how and when you work. You could ask that for a certain time you leave the office at 2 PM but work from 6-9 PM.
Flexibility can open up a new world of work-life balance.
4. Take care of yourself:
We feel burnt out because we don’t take enough time to care for our mental or physical health. We believe we can push, push, push when we just can’t.
There’s a breaking point. We have to prioritize our health. You wouldn’t neglect the health of your child, so why are you neglecting yours?
Find the time to pray and meditate, go for a run, or take a nap. These habits will help you care for yourself and balance your life.
Strive For Balance, Accept Imperfection
Any step you take toward a more balanced life is good. You’ll find yourself thinking clearer, more energized, and happier. Don’t let work consume you. Don’t let fun consume you, either.
You’re going to find periods of time where your life is out of balance. That’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect. You only have to be improving.
Accept imperfect balance when it comes. You’ll be able to work through the imbalance and then find balance again.