Should we really strive for the perfect work-life balance?
Updated: Mar 11
Often, our work can completely take over everything else in our lives.
An overwhelming desire to succeed professionally can result in us completely neglecting our health and general well-being and sanity! Creating a manageable work-life balance is vital to improving not only our physical, emotional and mental health but also our career health too. However, it is important that we keep perspective and stop thinking that anything less than 'insta-perfect' isn't good enough.
There are steps you can take to help regain focus and achieve a realistic balance.
SURVIVE or THRIVE?
The key to unlocking a good work-life balance starts by identifying what suits your needs and ensuring that you are in a position to consistently manage those needs. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer; it’s about understanding what helps you to thrive as a human being rather than just survive is a reasonable place to begin. Life is busy, there is nothing new about that, but if you feel that you are simply surviving life rather than living it, then you risk feelings of resentment, anger and regret and you also risk compromising your mental and physical wellbeing. It's time to regroup and take positive steps for change.
WORK SMARTER,NOT HARDER
Essentially the answer lies to some degree in working smarter rather than just working.
There isn't a magic wand that will make everything better and work-life balance looks different to everyone. It can mean working 60 hours a week and having time to read the kids at bedtime and a night out once or twice a month, but for others, it can mean 20 hours a week spent at work and the rest of the time exploring the world or some other hobby, studies or great pursuit.
UNDERSTAND YOUR MOTIVATION
The place to start is to segment and identify your professional and your personal priorities. Time to spend in the gym three times a week, being able to sit down for dinner with the family, time to actively pursue a hobby, having a busy social life, family holidays – these are all very typical personal priorities. Identifying your work priorities might not be quite so easy.
Here things can get murky as there is a lot more to consider aside from actual working hours such as earnings potential, career progression, travel, professional development opportunities and vocational learning – opportunity in any or all of these are contributors to job satisfaction and can be some reward for a long working week. It’s also important to ensure that you are simply happy within your role and chosen career field because this has a significant impact on your perspective of work-life balance. If you are working flat out in a job or industry that you don’t want to be in, then it will be much harder to reach any compromise that compensates you for feelings of unfulfillment and ultimately resentment.
BE ORGANISED AND DELEGATE
Once you have a clearer vision of your work and life priorities you can then break things down even further by making a daily ‘to do’ list, which will help to keep your day on track and help to ensure that tasks are accomplished. You need to avoid allowing yourself to become too sidetracked or spreading yourself too thin. Actioning things as soon as you receive them will also help you to feel that you are in control – you can either add these new tasks to your ‘to do’ list – or even delegate them. It is okay to admit that you are not on top of your admin game or that staying organised your strong point. There are lots of people out there who are and who LOVE doing the stuff you hate - so consider delegating such tasks to a Virtual Assistant who can work with you, to work smarter.
MAKE SMALL STEPS EACH DAY
A very simple way towards achieving some level of satisfaction out of every day is to set a daily goal to do at least one small thing that you enjoy – such as a break away from your desk to eat your lunch, getting some physical exercise, meeting a friend for a quick coffee or just reading a book or listening to music. If you manage others it also sets a good example by letting them know that it is okay to take a break. Never taking a break and working through lunch every day can actually highlight that you are constantly overwhelmed.
The most important thing of all is to recognise that you can’t do everything or be everywhere – no one can. We need our friends, family and support networks so be honest with yourself and recognise your capabilities and your limits. Override the inevitable nagging guilt that comes with juggling a busy schedule. Knowing what your priorities are and ordering your life to give greater capacity to that life is the key – and it is never too late to re-balance and take back control. The struggle is real but the reward is greater!
SavvyDesk helps busy professionals work smarter by taking care of those daily tasks that are often the catalyst for disorganisation and get in the way of productivity. Check out the many ways a Virtual Assistant can help CLICK HERE