We’ve all heard the words uttered and thought, is there such a thing? Well the answer is yes, work-life balance does exist! There are some truths and general misconceptions as to what helps to achieve a work life balance and we’re going to set the record straight.
Truth No.1 – Exercise helps
Managing to fit in time for a run, the gym or any kind sporting activity reduces stress levels. Dr. Russell Clayton of Saint Leo University found that “exercise reduces stress, and lower stress makes the time spent in either realm more productive and enjoyable”. Also Dr. Clayton found that “exercise helps work-home integration via increased self-efficacy”. As little as 15 minutes of fun cardio activity per day is all you need.
Truth No.2 – Hobbies help (new or old)
Hobbies are great; they help you to pick up new skills (learn something new), break out of your routine and even in some cases to network. Hobbies don’t have to be time consuming or hard! Exercising could be a hobby and that helps in more ways than one, also things like reading, drawing, gardening etc.
Truth No.3 – Doing something that makes you happy helps
Don’t forget that occasionally you have to do something fun for you. It’s been proven that people who have fun are generally more creative & productive, get along better with colleagues and make better decisions.
Truth No.4 – Spending quality time with your family and friends helps
It may sound like a no-brainer but putting your loved ones first is important. If your family and friends are happy you’ll be happy or at least happier, the best thing you can spend on the people you love is time. Most people cite the reason they work so hard as being their families, so it’s a vicious if not ironic circle, but letting work intrude on family time should be the exception and not the rule.
Misconception No.1 – The fewer hours you work the happier you will be
It’s a myth. For the most part people believe that reducing their hours will help, whilst it may work short term it is not a long term solution. Apart from the fact it generally leaves you with less time to accomplish your workload, it is probably part of a string of factors that affect your work-life balance.
Misconception No.2 – What works for one, works for another!
What works for someone else may be completely down to their personal situation and how they’re willing to find compromise in a situation. For example perhaps they are happy working through their lunch 2 days a week to leave the office early on a Thursday to make their child’s football match. Whereas you maybe be happy working 60 hours a week because you’re on a fast track to promotion.
The key is to figure out what your ideal work-life balance is around your goals, and then work toward them.
Misconception No.3 – There’s a perfect 50/50 split between work and life
Again “perfect” is a myth. You should look to take a holistic view when considering your commitments at work and home. There are always going to be times when work overflows into home life and vice versa. The key is to accept the fact that it will happen and that’ll mean sacrificing different areas of your life at various times.
Misconception No.4 – Your boss has it better
It’s just not true (in 99% of cases); everyone has to manage their own work-life balance. Just because your boss leaves the office at 4pm does not mean they are not working till 10pm or later. Getting a promotion does not automatically solve all of your work-life issues, it might even make them worse!
The overall lesson is, life is a unique experience for everyone and so is the act of balancing it. To achieve your perfect work-life balance, you’ll need to set realistic expectations for what’s achievable in both your work and home life.
Have you got any work-life balance tips? If so please share them below.