How to achieve a life-work balance?
One of the most common needs of my clients is their desire to achieve a life-work balance. Flooded with hundreds of daily tasks, both, at work and home, we are constantly looking for a space where we can breathe, recharge, and think about ourselves.
The truth is that in today’s digital and hectic world, with millions of stimuli reaching our brains every minute day by day, it is extremely difficult to switch off. Coming e-mails, beeping phones, bosses arranging new meetings, employees asking questions, and on the other hand our partners or children looking for love and attention.
Overwhelmed by obligations and by things that need to be done HERE AND NOW, we lose from radars the importance of life as such. We are trying to sort it all out, control it, and coordinate. And not to get crazy in the meantime. We keep waking up at night, building strategies and plans for the future, putting even more strain on our brains, which are already extremely overloaded during the day.
It’s never going to feel fully in alignment
Your life will never be in a perfect balance simply because life cannot be measured from here to here, and it is impossible to evenly separate what is private from what is work. Every day, despite our efforts to organise life, there are things that we have no influence on. Someone gets sick, someone suddenly needs you, what you did at work yesterday turns out to be inconsistent with the company’s latest line, and then at home, your life might be even more unpredictable.
In such a rapidly changing world (and if your organisation has not heard of a work-life fit model yet), only one thing that can bring you to balance: YOURSELF.
So, what to do to achieve a more balanced life?
Well, the key thing to know is that life-work balance is not about quantity, it is about quality. Your work does not need to drain you. The key is to be present and to set boundaries.
Distance and acceptance
First, change the approach. Put things in perspective. Find the time to reflect and take a more strategic approach to life, asking yourself:
· What is the most important for me on a scale from 1 to 10?
· What is crucial from the perspective of my whole life, and what is just an everyday thing with no bigger impact?
· How important is the thing bothering me today? Will it matter five years from now?
Second, accept the fact that life is not controllable. In every situation, there are zones under your control or influence, and things you cannot control at all. If you face a specific challenge, try to analyse it using this control-influence-accept approach. Once you accept what is beyond your control, your life will be easier.
Do what you love
If you are happy and fulfilled at work, this positive energy translates into your private life. It cheers you up instead of draining you. And the other way around. If you know how to regain your energy after work (since energy is not an inexhaustible source, you need to recharge your batteries like your phone), you feel stronger and more efficient when you are back in the office. Setting boundaries and watching your limits is in this context of the utmost importance.
Therefore, your ultimate goal should not be to balance life and work. Looking for a perfect balance can only cause you stress and a constant feeling of unfulfillment. Stop victimizing yourself and look for something else instead:
Empathize with others – what you do has an impact on your environment
One of my friends says: I have three children. Every day, we cook the favourite food of one family member. This way, I don’t need to stress about what to cook throughout the working week, and everyone in the family feels important and appreciated.
The thing is that a few minutes of authentic listening to your partner or child, and establishing a real bond with your loved ones, is worth more than a whole day spent together in a hurry and with stress. It brings good energy to you and your home environment, helping you to achieve a better balance.
But an empathetic approach is equally important at work. When you talk to your colleagues or subordinates, do you wonder what their behaviour is caused by? Do you try to empathize with their situation, lift up their spirits, or encourage them to act when they struggle with their tasks? Instead of giving orders or racing to come up with new ideas to prove your knowledge, can you stop and listen to what others want to say?
What counts for you in life?
Quality and awareness can be introduced in any area of your life. If you feel overloaded, choose what is important, and skip or postpone the rest. Try to adapt your actions and needs to your personal capacity and talents, and do not compare yourself to others. Because what will count, in the end, will not be the amount of stress you produced during your life. It will matter whether you felt fulfilled in life and work, whether you found time to do what you liked, or whether you were surrounded by the people who loved and appreciated who you are.
Does it resonate with you?
If you wonder how you can create a more fulfilling life, let me know. I look forward to supporting you in your personal transformation.