With the demands of modern day life, many people often feel as though they are being pulled in multiple directions – with no real sense of control or balance. This can lead to increased levels of stress, unhappiness and fatigue. In extreme cases this can result in a feeling of apathy and disassociation.
Gaining back that sense of control and working towards a level of balance is crucial for a happy life. So how can we go about moving closer to that all elusive work-life balance?
Appreciate that work-life balance is not a final destination. It is a continuous journey that will require life-long assessment and reassessment. Why is this the case? Because life constantly changes: through our decisions and unexpected events. As well as the fact that our priorities change. So, what looks like work-life balance today might not look like work-life balance in a years’ time. Knowing this is essential for maintaining a happy life.
Recognize that in order for you to be the best version of yourself – the best parent, spouse, friend, employee, son/daughter, sibling etc. – you need to take care of yourself. You have to make your health and happiness a priority. Set yourself regular time to rest, have fun and rejuvenate so you can recharge those batteries. Because a dead battery is of no use to anyone.
Figure out what exactly work-life balance means to you. A great way to do this is to do the “Perfect Day” exercise. Imagine you’re living a fulfilling life. What would an average day – a day that you would be happy to live on repeat – look like? Where do you wake up? Who with? What time? What do you see out of the window? How do you feel? Then go through the rest of the day until bedtime – always asking yourself “What do I see, hear and feel?” at each stage of the day.
Go into as much detail as possible – describing people, working environments, daily tasks or responsibilities, job details, the view outside of the window, the sound of people laughing or working inspirationally with one another. Describe colors, shapes, sounds, personalities, feelings, faces – the more detail the better
Once you have an idea of your perfect day - assess where you are now. How are you spending your time? What are you doing each day? And then compare it to your dream day. Look for the gaps and differences – big and small.
As you assess the gaps, take note of any emotions that come up. Any ‘negative’ emotions are a message from your subconscious mind that the life you’re living now is not aligned to who you are and what is most important to you. If you want to live a fulfilling life and experience work-life balance – this is going to be the key.
It’s time to figure out what is most important to you. These are what we call your values. Examples of values could be:
Pick your top 7 values (include any that might not be on the list above).
Now look at your top 7. Imagine you were experiencing those top 7 values on a regular basis – would you even care where you were spending your time if all of those were present in your world?
If you are not experiencing work-life balance, it’s because you are not experiencing the things that are really important to you. And when I say experience, I mean experience. Let’s just say one of your top values is family. Now when you come home from work to spend time with them, but that whole time you are either on your phone thinking about work, worrying about money, stressing about being a good parent, employee or spouse – are you really experiencing your family?
The problem isn’t where your physical body is spending time. It’s where your heart and your mind are spending time. Until you solve that problem and start experiencing your values - no amount of planning and order and time management will result in work-life balance. It doesn’t matter how you spend your time – because it will never feel like work-life balance.
In order to feel a sense of work-life balance you must start to align your life and career to your values. So what changes could you make to your life and career so you can start to experience more of your top values on a day-to-day basis?
Do you need to change careers? Do you need to find more purpose in your current job? Do you need to learn how to let go of control and delegate – even if the task won’t be completed to your usual high standards? Do you need to schedule time for rest and relaxation and put yourself first for once? Do you need to learn how to manage your emotions better? Do you need to learn how to switch off? Do you need to learn a new skill? Change locations? Enhance your CV and interview skills?
What resources are available to you that can help you? Resources include people (e.g. friends, family, a life coach or career coach, colleagues, fellow parents, mentors) money, time, reading material, online resources, workshops etc.
What 3 actions can you take this week, that will help you get closer to aligning your life to your values?SHOW MORE