Work life balance sounds like the pinnacle of happiness in today’s hectic, busy world. However, achieving it in an age where anyone can get a hold of you no matter where you or what time of day it is, is another reality entirely. What is the answer? It depends on how you work through the day to complete tasks, because work life balance varies from person to person. Determining a balance between the two can be done, but it takes a little soul searching and discipline to achieve.
Technology Blurs the Line
As discussed in a previous blog, taking work home to complete time sensitive tasks is a realistic occurrence for most Americans. Although there are ways to control it, the line between life and work is often blurred. Some even think there is no way to truly separate the two anymore. Take Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO. He believes in work-life harmony and not work life balance.
To Jeff Bezos, “balance” implies hard and fast separation, which he feels is unrealistic in our technological society. For example, how many of us have acted upon a push alert on our mobile phone from the bank, kid’s school, or twitter alert for “breaking news” while in the middle of an important task at work? How about checking a bank balance, “really quick”, before deciding whether you are going to join a colleague for lunch and seeing an outstanding bill that should be paid ASAP? If you are being honest, you have done all these distracting, work life blurring activities in the past (or maybe just a moment ago).
Technology is great, but it does blur the line between work and life. There is a way to deal with it, however, the trick is finding out what works best for YOU and no one else.
First, Take Care of Yourself
Even if you are not religious, the opening lines of the “Serenity Prayer” is a powerful reference to help get back on track when feeling unbalanced.
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”
Basically, this means control only what you can control in life. If the office still operates as if it is 1955 where work starts promptly at 9:00 am and ends at 5:00 pm, and you want to continue to work there, you must accept this fact and work “around” it. This is where taking care of yourself, first, is key to find work life balance.
The best way to care for yourself is to practice self-renewal. Self-renewal is important for personal and professional success. That’s probably why it is the seventh habit, “Sharpen the Saw”, as explained in Stephen Covey’s “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. It addresses 4 areas of life:
We explored some common sense ways to nurture each of these areas during the work day such as exercising (physical), engaging with friends (social/emotional), furthering your education (mental) and taking time to enjoy nature and/or meditate (spiritual) in a previous blog. The “how” is entirely up to what works best for you.
Outside of work, these areas need to be addressed as well. For example, the physical can be taken care of by getting enough sleep on a regular basis. How many hours depends on your unique needs (I need at least 8 hours, where some people are fine with 6 hours). In other words, take time to explore what is best for you to achieve physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual health, then do it!
Work life balance is all in the eye of the beholder. So be honest with yourself and “sharpen your saw” by taking care of yourself first. You’ll be amazed how “balanced” you’ll feel!
Find Work Life Balance with Larry Lipman
Fun Team Building with Larry Lipman can help “sharpen the team”. Address the physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of your team through a fun interactive agenda customized for your organization. Call Larry today at 770-333-3303 for your free 15-minute consultation.