In this post we are going to cover the definition of work-life balance, as well as what it sets out to address.
Here you will learn not only the benefits that work-life balance has to offer, but also what this concept misses.
If you’re ready to reap the rewards of a balanced life, then this post is for you!
Let’s get started…
What Is Work-life Balance?
Work-life balance is most commonly defined as creating a healthy balance between your work life and home life.
The idea is that if you have a fulfilling life outside of work, then your work life will be less stressful, and you may even become more productive.
There are many reasons for imbalance in work-life balance, but we’re mainly going to focus on two work-life balance examples.
These two main stereotypes are the ‘workaholics’, and those who see their job as a ‘necessary evil’ that sustains the rest of their life.
Let’s get into some of the work-life balance problems and solutions.
Is Work-life Balance Important?
So is work-life balance important? Well, living a balanced life is a good thing.
However, many work-life balance articles focus only on the perspective of the two stereotypes above, which tends to cause some issues.
For one, balancing the ‘necessary evil’ job with the brief relief of the weekends can lead to a life of constant stress and dread.
No matter how much you try to balance a positive life outside of work with a negative, energy draining work life, you will be fighting a constant battle. It can also lead to escapism habits.
A better practice would be to set out to create a better work environment- whether through changing jobs or doing what you can to improve your current work environment.
It’s more about integration rather than balance. Look at your life as a whole, and then see how all the pieces fit together synergistically.
How you do anything is how you do everything.
So if you are unhappy and unfilled in your work, then that energy is sure to spill over into your home life (no matter how hard you try to balance it out with ‘positivity and self care’).
Rather than seeing your life as separate parts, find ways to make them work together, harmoniously.
Creating A Balanced Life
So what is an alternative solution? Taking a more holistic approach.
Again, think of it as ‘life integration’. All the parts should fit together to create a fulfilling life.
Now we’re going to talk about how to achieve work-life balance in 4 steps, and share our best work-life balance tips and techniques.
1. Create Your Vision
The first thing to do is to create your vision. Imagine your ideal life.
Would you even be working at the place you’re currently at? Do your ‘off days’ and ‘home life’ line up with how you’d ideally like to be living?
Maybe you find joy and fulfillment in your work, but your home life is lacking. You could even be using work as an ‘escape’.
Take a moment to practice what is called zero-based thinking. If you were to start from scratch, would you build the life you currently have? Or would you make some changes?
A lot of people struggle with the idea of making a shift, even if it’s in their best interest, mainly due to the previous investment trap.
It’s hard to jump into something new because it’s unfamiliar, while some just can’t admit to themselves that they’ve ‘placed their ladder against the wrong tree’.
People will accept a mediocre, and sometimes miserable, life due to this.
The solution would be to take some time to self-reflect, gain some clarity, and imagine what the ‘life you would look forward to living everyday’ would look like.
Then set out to create it.
2. Equip Yourself
Working on your self-development (or properly equipping yourself), is one of the best ways to handle anything life throws at you, whether it be in work or home life.
It will also prepare you with the skills and tools needed to create your ‘ideal life’.
One way to equip yourself is by taking care of your body and mind, which enables you to better handle stress. You can do this by taking control of your health, and making time for nourishing activities & self care.
Things such as meditation, journaling, a clean diet, exercise and proper sleep can do wonders for this!
Developing better communication skills is another key element to creating a better life.
Being able to communicate effectively gives you the ability to set boundaries, say ‘no’ when necessary, as well as handle difficult conversations and situations with empathy & understanding.
This skill can help drastically improve relationships in all areas of your life.
Additional skills to improve are things such as time management, learning how to delegate, and knowing how to prioritize.
Working on all of these will better equip you to do what is necessary, not just what is urgent or convenient.
3. Build a Better Workplace
For most of us, work is going to take up a major part of our life. So to ensure we are living our ideal life, we need to ensure our work is adding to that, not subtracting from it.
If our work life is not in line with our natural skills, abilities, underlying purpose and interests, then it might be time to consider making a change.
However, it’s understandable that changing careers is not always possible, especially quick & drastic changes.
But if we are working on our skills (and have got clarity on our life vision), then we can surely work to improve our current situation and be making strides towards a new line of work.
It may be that you initially enjoyed your work, but were promoted into a position that turned this enjoyment into dread. It’s important to look at everything a job promotion entails, not just the pay.
Does the new position still line up with your skills and temperament? Will it have a negative effect on your work environment? Consider these factors in addition to the better pay and more prestigious title.
4. Create a Better Home Life
Creating a rich and fulfilling life at home allows you to truly live your best life.
Now that you have created your vision, made a commitment to grow & equip yourself, and made strides to improve work life - your home life is the final piece of the puzzle.
Creating a better home life is about making time for loved ones, pursuing creative hobbies, and scheduling in leisure activities you look forward to.
Since you also now understand the importance of effective communication, you should see an improvement in your relationships at home.
Nonviolent Communication is a must read if you want to take your relationships to the next level and create true lasting benefits.
Home life is also a great time to nourish and care for yourself, your family, and your environment.
Life at home shouldn’t be just about ‘vegging or zoning out’ in front of a screen. Partaking in ‘escapism’ habits such as these only ‘fast forwards’ the free time you do have, without you truly being present.
Take this time to slow down, be present, and appreciate the moments you have with family, friends, and yourself.
Creating a better home life also includes taking care of your financial situation. Ensuring your finances are being handled properly allows you to enjoy time off without the constant pressure of feeling the ‘need’ to work extra hours.
So work-life balance is important, yes... but life integration is even better.
Making the effort to improve yourself (and all the areas of your life), so that you can truly live your best life, harmoniously, and with integrity is a solution worth pursuing.
What does work-life balance mean to you? What area of your life are you going to work on integrating and improving?
Let us know by leaving a comment.