Everyone talks about how important it is to find a balance between work and life - or the ever elusive work/life balance. So often people find that when they work full-time they are not able to find a balance between everything they need to accomplish at work and at home. So how does one go about finding a balance between work and home responsibilities? Research as proven that those that are able to find a balance between work and home life carefully combine their work and home by including their family in work decisions and activities. But even someone with the most carefully laid plans can lose balance when life starts to take over. So what can you do to find balance in your life and in your work? Here are five main themes you can utilize to work toward a more balanced life.
1. Defining Your Success
When you are the leader on a project, you determine what your success will look like. This same thing happens in your personal life. You determine what success will look like when you achieve a balance between work and life. For some success is spending four nights a week at home with family. For others, success is attending all of your children's sports game. Interestingly enough, women and men defined success terms differently. For women, success was less about organizational success and more about individual achievement where men find success in monetary achievement. So take some time to determine what your success will look and define the steps you will take to achieve said success.
2. Technology Management
Nearly all employees reference how critical it is to find a balance in managing their e-mails, text messages and phone calls. It is important to decide when, how and what time you will be accessible for work and this is often a large struggle for executives and employees alike. Some people believe that technology is a means to be able to continue working while being home while others saw technology as a large distraction. Whether technology is a benefit or a distraction, you have to define what a balance would look like with the technology in your life.
3. Support Network
When it comes to work/life balance, a good support network can be your biggest asset. As life gets more and more chaotic, things begin to fall through the crack and executives have reported that the busier they get, the more help they enlist. Often the first things people get help with are the mundane tasks like laundry or grocery shopping. But support is not just physical. It is very important to build a strong emotional support group. Even executives need a listening ear when things are overwhelming or frustrating. So take time to build yourself a strong support network that you can rely on when there are just not enough hours in the day.
4. Relocating/Traveling with Purpose
When it comes to relocating for work, the first thing employees consider is their home life - especially those with spouses or children to consider. But this is something that those joining the work force need to consider before starting out their careers. If travelling or relocating is not something you are looking to do in your career, make that decision early and use that decision when considering positions in the future.
5. Partner Teamwork
Managing success, technology and your support network is large responsibility. But do those goals match up with your partner's goals as well? Those executives that are able to find a good work/life balance work toward a common goal they have defined with their spouse. It is important to consider your partner (and families) when making major decisions. Collaborating with your partner toward success will not only keep you both connected, but will also ensure the two of you are working together. This will reduce any friction in home or at work.
Working to achieve a work/life balance is a difficult task, but it is definitely achievable. Take some time to manage your goals while working to balance everything and you will find over time your life will be more balanced.
Jackie, I enjoyed reading your article. This advice is always so timely and needed. Just when we think things are in balance, they get out of balance, and it's important to keep this in mind daily. You've offered really great points that are easy to follow.
I especially like how you've emphasized the importance of defining success up front. And the value of a good "sounding board" of people - I couldn't live without that. It's amazing how your friends can help you see when you're about to walk off a cliff.
This is an article I know I'll refer back to! Thanks, Janet