The last time I addressed work-life balance was back in May 2016 in a post titled, “Managing Work and Family: It’s a Delicate Balance,” one of our most popular topics to date.
I’d reported that 46% of workers complained they lacked balance. The 2018 poll I reviewed today showed staggeringly that this number has climbed to 66% of workers.*
The truth is that happier employees are not only more efficient but also produce higher quality work! Improving work-life balance would not only create a happier workforce, but would improve employee retention and overall productivity.
Although 60% of employees attribute the lack of balance to bad bosses*, I’m happy to tell you there are 5 tips you can try to take your balance back.
#1 – Work-life balance goes a bit deeper than math.
Sometimes, when we think of work-life balance, we think that if we spend 8 hours per day working that we should spend 8 hours per day on personal time. When you factor in how you actually spend your “personal time” (showering, eating meals, and doing dishes / household chores), you’re only really left with a few hours each day. When looking at work-life balance mathematically, it’s discouraging because it’s impossible to get those numbers to be equal! That’s why balance goes way beyond numbers.
Of course, if you consider doing dishes to be recreational time, I have a kitchen in Indiana I’d love to show you.
#2 – Quality of time over quantity.
Once we accept that the quantity of work time and personal time will never be mathematically equal, we learn that quality becomes the most important factor to consider! I’d love to introduce you to the concepts of HVAs and LVAs (high-value added activities and low-value added activities.)
When time feels like something you just don’t have, you have to be really selective about how you spend it. In a professional context, your goal should be to make the tasks you perform or strive to do HVAs. They should light you up, challenge you, and make you feel more valuable to your organization.
In a personal sense, what do you genuinely enjoy doing? According to Small Business Trends, when we’re not working, we spend the bulk of our off-time watching TV. TV, of course, isn’t necessarily a bad way to spend your off-time, but you should be more mindful of what you’re watching in order to get the most value (HVA) and enjoyment out of the activity. As Jeff Haden puts it, in a recent Inc. article titled, “The Only Work-Life Balance Formula That Actually Works,”…
“Shoot, if you just want to veg out, don’t watch whatever happens to be on TV. Don’t settle for whatever seems to be the best option. That’s a total waste of ‘life’ time. Watch something you really want to watch. Have a list handy. Know ahead of time what you’ll watch if you get the chance. You’ll enjoy the experience a lot more — and you’ll feel like the time you spent watching TV actually mattered.”
#3 – Set boundaries around personal time.
To gain more control over your time, it’s important to also set some boundaries. Even in professions that expect you to reply to emails after hours, if you’d genuinely like to have more blissful family dinnertimes, you should put your phone in another room entirely. Doing so creates a physical boundary letting you be present with those you love.
#4 – Consider incorporating a mindfulness practice into your every day life.
Meditation boasts HUGE benefits to overall health and quality of life. If you’re someone who thinks meditation is weird, I still encourage you to try one of the apps below – all of which are perfect for beginners:
#5 – Hire a coach.
If you’d like someone on your side to help give your professional life some momentum, you might want to hire us! We help our individual clients improve work-life balance and take control in their careers. If this might fit you or someone you know, contact us directly.