Work-Life Balance – Fact or Fiction?

Summertime is finally here, but do you really even have time for summer? Or does that just mean that you can see the sun from your open office window for a few more hours? If that sounds familiar, it is probably time to start thinking and talking about work-life balance.

For many employees work-life balance is all-elusive, always just out of reach.  While it is sometimes necessary for the benefit of the business, or even the good of our finances, spending too much time working can have negatives effects on other parts of our lives. Personal relationships, external commitments and our own health and peace of mind often get cast aside for “just a few more emails” or “a few extra hours of overtime on the floor”.

Maybe you are not in a position to give up those extra hours, even so, there are things that you can start doing today that will help you balance your career with the rest of your life.

  1. Have time that belongs just to you. This can be time to enjoy a cup of coffee, read a chapter of that book that has been sitting on your bedside tables collecting dust, or even just to sit down and relax for a few moments and think about something else. An extra fifteen minutes of time for yourself each day can help ease your mind and make work seem less looming. This time is not to be spent checking work emails or planning out tomorrow’s schedule. Just take a breather, it will do wonders for your stress level.
  2. Don’t put off important relationships. Set up a weekly date night, commit to attending your child’s sporting event or other activities, put it in your calendar, and most importantly actually go.
  3. Understand that saying “No” doesn’t mean you will be let go. Sometimes we feel we have to work lots of extra hours or commit to extra committees or miss a special event, because it hard to say no.  Whether it is out of guilt, or fear of losing a job, or a bonus, or whatever the case, the truth is that managers are people too. They have lives and families and things to do outside of work. If they cannot understand that you have other things going for you than just your career, do you really want to work for them? This is a good time to start practicing your “no.”
  4. Define your own parameters of success. What does a successful career mean to you? Does success mean that you have to do it all on your own? Are there others that you can reach out to pick up some of the extra that you are taking on right now?  These are thoughts and conversations that we need to be having in the workplace! Communication is the best way to resolve these types of issues, and without it you will not find balance.

What will you do today to help restore some balance in your life? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to make time for summer this year. It won’t wait.

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