Author: Jennifer Duncan, Project Manager
Work-life balance has been talked about for decades, and there was a time, not that long ago, when the boundaries between work and home were fairly clear. Today, however, by having technology at our fingertips – being able to work from anywhere, anytime – the line between our work and personal lives has blurred like never before. And it’s now more difficult than ever to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Let’s start by defining work-life balance. What exactly is it?
According to Jeff Davidson, the Work-Life Balance Expert®, work-life balance is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home life with sufficient leisure.
Now that we’ve defined work-life balance, let’s take it a step further.
Three things to know about work-life balance:
- Work-life balance does not mean an equal balance. Trying to achieve an equal number of hours for your work and personal activities is unrealistic. Striking a comfortable balance is the key.
- Your ideal work-life balance will vary over time. As your priorities change, your ideal work-life balance will also change. For example, the right balance for you when you’re single will be different once you’re married with a family.
- There is no perfect, one-size-fits-all work-life balance. The ideal work-life balance is unique to each of us because we all have different priorities in life.
To lighten things up a bit, here’s a short work-life balance video from The Onion:
The Onion jokingly implies that only by not having a job can one achieve a healthy work-life balance. That’s hilarious – because it’s not at all realistic.
So, what can we do to achieve a healthy work-life balance?
Five tips to achieve a healthy work-life balance:
- Prioritize – Prioritize your work and personal activities. Prioritization helps you focus on what’s really important and decreases unnecessary stress. Consider combining your work and personal calendars to avoid conflicts between equally important work and personal events. This allows you to plan accordingly when a conflict arises.
- Unplug – When you’re away from work, be away from work. Step away from your electronic devices and give your family, friends and personal activities your full attention.
- Use Your Vacation Time – So many of us don’t use our vacation time. Vacations, even staycations, should be dedicated to relaxing and recharging. Don’t check work email – disconnect completely – so you can return to work with a renewed focus and fresh outlook.
- Exercise – Exercise relieves stress, clears your mind, elevates your mood and ultimately makes you more productive. Win-win all around.
- Build Downtime into Your Workweek – During the workweek, make a point to schedule uninterrupted quality time with family and friends, or even just “me” time. Block out time for activities that help you recharge. Having something fun to look forward to at the end of the day will make a huge difference in your mindset.
Lastly, the chart below represents the 25 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance in 2015, according to Glassdoor. I’m pleased to see several jobs in our industry on this list.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is more challenging than ever in today’s “always-connected” world. Don’t be afraid to disconnect! I hope the tips shared in this post will help you in your quest to achieve a healthy work-life balance in this technology-crazed world.
- Davidson, Jeff. “Work-Life Balance.”
- Bird, Jim. “Work-Life Balance Defined.”
- Osenga, Joshua. “12 Years a Cubicle Slave: How to Find the Perfect Balance Between Work and Play.” 2014.
- Atkins, Sam. “Work Life Balance: How to Manage a Rewarding Career and Maintain a Fulfilling Life.” 2014.
- “25 Best Jobs for Work-Life Balance (2015).” Glassdoor Blog, October 20, 2015.
- “Laid-Off Man Finally Achieves Perfect Work-Life Balance.” The Onion, January 22, 2014.