As corporations continue to work through the grip of an economic recession, dynamics within the workplace continue to change. As headcount decreases, workload increases for the remaining employees. Along with the workload increase is also additional stress, frustration, and low quality of life. One workplace problem that is on the rise is Work-Life Balance.
Individuals are desperate to understand how to find enough hours in the day to get things done and also maintain a healthy, happy quality of life. This article is based on my popular corporate workshop, and it is having remarkable results in enhancing productivity, morale, and reducing stress in the workplace.
Following are seven key steps in managing a healthy work-life balance:
Realize changes constantly occur. The phrase ¡§work-life balance¡¨ is deceiving. The word balance means an equal distribution which is difficult to maintain. Instead of trying to achieve perfect balance, think of the situation in terms of work-life satisfaction or fulfillment. The number of hours you may put toward work, hobbies, family, career, etc. will change constantly. Instead of viewing it as a perfectly balanced world, view it as a ballroom dance where you take a few steps up, a few steps back, and a few steps to the side in an effort to move toward your ideal life.
Understand how it is defined. There is no specific definition for work-life balance. It is unique for everyone. What equals balance to one individual may not equal balance to someone else. Working less on the weekend, having more family time, answering emails in a timely manner, working in a more pro-active manner, etc, are just a few examples of what work-life balance may mean to a number of people. How do you define it?
Set life goals. If you have life goals, you have a higher probability of accomplishing what you want. Ensure the goals are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely). Your goals should align with your values. Take time to sit down and make a list of your values. What do you value in life? If family time is high on your priority list, then ensure your goals are aligned around this value. You may have annual goals as well as monthly and weekly goals. Larges goals are easier to achieve if they are broken down into manageable chunks.
Stop the juggling act. You have access to tons of information, and along with this information are choices. Communication alone offers many choices (telephone, texting, email, voicemail, etc). Therefore, you must begin to view your life as a puzzle with many pieces that connect instead of juggling many balls in the air. When you view your activities and tasks as puzzle pieces, it is easier for you to fit the pieces into your life goals and manage them using the S.M.A.R.T. formula.
Write it down. The way around procrastination is to write it down. Also find an accountability partner who you can check in with periodically to help keep you on track.
Check your attitude. You are always in control of your attitude - whether you know it or not. You consciously make choices every day. You can make a choice to take control of your life and attitude instead of allowing it to push you to the breaking point. Think about whether you want to be a cause or an effect. When you choose to be a cause, you make things happen. But when you choose to be an effect, you settle for whatever happens and worry constantly. Adjust your beliefs according to your goals. Incorporate morning or evening affirmations into your day. Say out loud a positive statement and make it present-based (i.e., I am successful in my work/life). Let go of the things you have no control over and concentrate on being an effect and make things happen.
Focus and Commit. Once your goals are identified and written down, focus and commit to what you want. When you are interested in a goal, you will do whatever is convenient. However, when you are committed, you will do whatever is required to achieve it. Understand the ¡§why¡¨ behind your goals. When you assign a ¡§why¡¨ to your goals, it gives it power. Understanding why you want something is just as important as the goal itself.
The most important fact to keep in mind is that work-life balance is similar to a teeter-totter ¡Vit constantly moves and changes in accordance with the activity and/or pressure you apply to each end. When you put a puzzle together, the steps are to gather, sort, and connect. When you view your life goals in this manner, it increases probability for success. Life has many wonderful twists and turns, and these tips will prepare you to achieve and enjoy every piece.
Cathy Holloway Hill
Founder & CEO – C. Holloway Hill Enterprises
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