What is work-life balance? There is no magic number for the right number of hours of exercise or sufficient time spent with children that will combat the stress from a busy day at the office. There is no ratio for time spent at home versus time spent at the office that equates to happiness. In fact, the right balance varies from person to person. Some people can handle a 60-hour work weeks with ease, while others find that idea repulsive.
With all the changes in how companies are attempting to address this work-life balance, it can be easy to overlook that much of the responsibility actually falls on the individual.
With all the changes in how companies are attempting to address this work-life balance, it can be easy to overlook that much of the responsibility actually falls on the individual. Even a great work environment does not guarantee stress-free employees. Because stress is different things to different people, individuals need to figure out just what works for them.
- Determine what you will not give up for a job under any circumstance and hold yourself to that. Is the most important part of your week eating dinner with your family? If so, do not take a job where people routinely have to work past 6 p.m. Do you take a European vacation with your spouse each year? If this is vital, you need to discuss this with your boss and see if an agreement can be reached for your vacation time. Compromising on the aspects of life that make you happiest is a bad way to start off any plan to improve balance in your life.
- Know exactly what your job is and what is expected of you. Constantly guessing at what your boss wants is certainly stressful. Therefore, a clear job description that delineates all your responsibilities and roles is essential for the success of any employee…..otherwise we are setting them up to fail and that is stressful for everyone.
- Spend time on a hobby regularly. If you do not have a hobby, it might be a good idea to find one. Not only will it make you happy, but hobbies make great conversation starters during lunch with colleagues and might even help you find common ground with your boss or your customers.
- Schedule time to spend with friends as our relationships are a large part of our happiness. Meaningful friendships do not just happen, especially when you are trying to balance a career, your family, and hobbies. Be sure to stay in touch with your friends. Schedule dates that work for a lunch or movie and enter it in your Outlook calendar. Treat it like you would a work appointment. People with strong friendships are happier and healthier so they function at a higher level.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise! Exercise is a critical part of a healthy lifestyle, it feels good to push yourself physically after so much “mental pushing” at work. In addition, exercise changes your brain chemistry, releasing more endorphins which give you a feeling a well-being and help you to be able to focus better.
Work-life balance does not come naturally, it takes effort and commitment. However, it is definitely worth that effort!