Are you wondering if work/life balance is even possible? Does it feel like work/ life balance is just another thing you have to achieve? If you have answered yes to either of these questions, you are not alone.
What you are experiencing is part of a phenomena that exists in a much larger context. In the ever-present world of work the challenges of work/life balance are global.
Surveys in Great Britain, Canada and Australia reveal that balance in the work/life is a leading 21st century challenge. Overwhelming work demands keep employees off-balance at work and in the rest of their life.
How many of the findings culled from research conducted between 2000 and 2007 related to your experience?
- Workload and unrealistic performance expectations are a root cause of imbalance in work/life.
- Knowledge workers-smart individuals who are professionals, managers, university graduates, and high income earners-find work/life balance very difficult to achieve.
- Nonstop work demands and unrealistic performance expectations are creating chronic stress.
Chronic stress and sleeping pill sales are high. Relaxation and work-free vacations are low. A recent study of 10,000 British civil servants suggests that work-related stress can kill. It sets the body up for a heart attack. Clearly, this imbalance is unhealthy and not sustainable.
Back to Balance
Yet our lives get busier and busier. Work demands continue to accelerate. Is there a way back to balance? The answer is YES!
The path to work/life balance is paved with good intentions. So it's essential to begin with 2 small steps. First, look at how you think about balance and be open to shifting the way you view it. Second, define what work/life balance means to you.
Do you think about balance as a static state, a place where you finally arrive at equilibrium? Or do you see balance as dynamic movement, like a pendulum moving in and out of its center?
Picture a child on a skate board, a surfer riding a wave, or adults practicing Tai Chi. In each instance, balance suggests manageable motion and finding your center in continuous movement.
Balance is Dynamic
How you view balance shapes your sense of it. A dynamic sense of balance is easier to experience in a fast-paced work/life than static balance.
Knowing how you perceive balance informs how you define what work/life balance means to you. If you are not sure what you want your work/life to look and feel like, how will you know when you have it?
What Balance Means to You
Busy professionals rarely think about balanced work/life in positive terms. Instead they have unexamined expectations about what they can't have or would have to give up.
Escape that pitfall. Take a little time to explore what a balanced work/life could look and feel like for you. Notice the difference when you focus on just the possibilities.
Then take a long, slow deep breath. Ask yourself: What small step can I take starting now to move toward a balanced work/life? You may be surprised at how easy it is to practice a little each day moving toward work/life balance.