Achieving work-life balance in 2015


With every new year comes New Year’s Resolutions to hopefully make our lives more fulfilling and us happier.

 

Something many of us believe would make us happier is achieving a work-life balance. The imbalance of the two can cause stress and a lack of satisfaction in both areas.

When someone has more “work” than “life” he may be viewed as an exceptional employee, but outside of work he runs the risk of being pegged as a workaholic, and his personal life may suffer.

On the other hand, when someone allows his personal life to overflow into his work life, it’s often viewed as laziness or a lack of focus and will likely have negative ramifications on his career.

So how can you achieve a better work-life balance? Consider the following.

Quality determines quantity

People tend to spend time according to what they value.

For example, if one’s personal life provides more fulfillment than one’s work, work may suffer as one pursues those aspects of one’s life that bring happiness. By the same token, if someone is passionate about work and the fruits of his labor (a sense of purpose, monetary gain, the approval of coworkers or superiors, climbing the ladder, etc.), you’ll commonly find him pouring himself into his vocation.

When a balance of meaning and fulfillment are found in an individual’s work and personal life, therefore, he or she is more likely to experience an overall balance or blending of the two. However, fulfillment within a profession is a relatively new concept, and business owners in particular may find the line between work and leisure becomes harder and harder to decipher.

Better time management leads to better balance

In all reality, finding and maintaining the spot where work and leisure blend well isn’t an option for everyone. At the same time, technological developments make it all but certain we’ll become more attached to our work life while at home, and in some cases, our home life while at work.

For example, it’s very common for people to check their work email when not at work AND to check their personal email or texts while at work. If you want better work/life balance, however, you have to dedicate time to one or the other and stick to it.

Everyone needs a break every now and again

More now than ever Americans are pouring themselves into their work and not using vacation time. This phenomenon has been covered in countless articles and even poked at in commercials. But the time is there for a reason. Plan it. Use it.

It’s important to avoid distractions

If you want more work/life balance, it’s best to compartmentalize as much as you can. While at work, focus on work. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the outside world. Get your work done.

In the same regard, when at home, sometimes it’s best to put your phone, computer, or whatever connections you have, away. Focus on life for a little while, and you might find that when you do go back to your work, you’ll be more refreshed and produce a better work product.

For more information, see our related post: “The future of flexibility in the workplace.”

6 Comments

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  1. 2
    angela

    Our culture is still a ways away from understanding employees needing work/life balance. Even the writer of this article couldn’t portray balance…”While at work, focus on work. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by the outside world. Get your work done. ” Making sure to make it clear work is important, but then in the next paragraph…”…when at home, sometimes it’s best to put your phone, computer, or whatever connections you have, away. Focus on life for a little while…”. Sometimes? put your electronics away? Focus on life for “a little while”, exactly. This is what’s wrong with our workforce now…

  2. 3
    Rosmar

    Achieving Work Life Balance will only be achieved when balance is understood and accepted. Work life balance is not about dividing the time at work and the time at home equally. Sometimes we need to attend to personal matters during work hours and, depending on the level of responsibility, sometimes we will need to attend to work matters while at home. Acquiring the balance requires an understanding of “balance”. Just as we are told that a relationship is 50/50 (balanced right)… it is not always 50/50 at the same time. There are times when one person may be putting in 100% and the other 0% (Ex: Partner gets ill). So some days we will need to put in 100% of our time into work matters and others, we will need to do the same for our personal life. Maintaining productivity and success in both arenas is Balance and not something a schedule or Job description, or cellular and laptop will offer (or take away). If we need to work 100% for a couple days to complete a project or urgent agenda then so be it, but I’m sure the time will come when you need to take a couple days off to attend to an unexpected family matter and you don’t want your PTO affeceted….so it’s a good time to cash in on the 100% investment previously made. (Food for thought!)

  3. 4
    Steve

    Sometimes there are personal tasks that must be done during work time, such as calling to schedule a medical appointment (since most doctor’s offices keep banker’s hours), and occasionally one must attend to urgent personal matters such as the panicked phone call from a child whose ride home from school fell through. I once went through a divorce and had to take a bit of time off work (with permission) to meet with a divorce lawyer. Fortunately my employer was understanding about my situation. I don’t think you can ever completely separate the personal from work, during the work week, but it should be communicated to employees that most time is to be spent on work. Managers should let employees know that if time is needed to address personal needs, that the employee should communicate promptly about those issues (without necessarily sharing all of their personal details with the manager, especially in the case of medical issues and HIPPA). Managers should make sure to fairly administrate any attendance, vacation, and PTO policies to ensure that no one can claim favoritism in granting time for ‘personal business’. Managers should also communicate with their HR representative as soon as they see an employee missing too much time from work – it could signal a need for FMLA medical leave, or could just be absences for random reasons. HR can help legally and properly address an employee whose personal life may be overwhelming them.

  4. 5
    Stefan

    Why is this article mainly focussed on benefits for employees?, a work/life belance can also mean that a person has personal other goals he wants to fulfil. In Europe working less (like 32 hours) is a really well accepted thing. Especially since usually people have a higher productivity and besides that, for good jobs it’s not necessary always to work 5 days. Like if the wife also works, it’s common to work both 4 days, to have 1 day for other responsibilities like kids.
    In the United States there is often a feeling that work needs to be the priority. And although that’s more than true for the hours you’re at work, there needs to be a balance. And on the other side in your personal time it’s nothing more but normal to have priorities for other personal things.

  5. 6
    Madhura

    Its a lovely article. I strongly believe that in India it is very difficult to maintain work life balance, because the work load is more than the staff available. In this situation, one can find it very difficult to maintain a balance. No matter how many hours a person puts in such a situation the work pending is > work done.

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