Work-life balance might sound like the most cliched and thrown-around phrase of our times. And yet it's something that most of us aspire to achieve or wish for in our hectic schedules.
The scale for almost everyone is divided between the work we are obligated to do, for instance, paid work or what we understand as our profession. There is also additional work which can consist of volunteer positions, school-related tasks, community work etc. You could also be caring for an elderly or where there's an obligation to fit other family members into your time. On the other side of the same scale lies the "work" you enjoy doing, for instance, hanging out with friends, going out for a walk, learning a new hobby or simply vegging out and watching a show. So, the question before is, is there a way to balance this scale? Does it look like more of a juggling act and less like a balancing one for you? Here's how you can change that and help yourself.
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1. Be realistic and ready to reevaluate: Just as our situations and commitments differ. Similarly, the balance we seek might also differ from each other. Being realistic about what we understand as the "balance" is a great place to start. Doing a weekly scan of what the next seven days entail regarding obligations, expectations, and your own desires can help you decide what you need to make room for and how to get there. The fifty-fifty myth between work and life, as you will find, does not happen daily. For instance, on a busy workday, or just before a big presentation, or a big promotion, it could very well mean that there's a period of hectic schedules, running to meet deadlines etc., with no time to relax in the short term. Being realistic and having the ability to reevaluate priorities is a big part of keeping the scales balanced. The helpful thing to remember is that the decision to make time for both work and leisure lies with you.
2. Ask for help and trust people around you: There is often a mindset block that stops the best of us from asking for help or trusting people with work. In short, delegating the things that can quickly free up some space in our schedules gives us a much-needed breather. Keeping the line of communication open and building on partnerships, whether professionally or personally, allows you flexibility. It also enables you to develop a trustworthy attitude towards your team, whether at work or home. And that's how the scales can be made even.
3. Taking breaks: Taking breaks cannot be emphasized more! Regular intervals not only keep you motivated but also recharge your brain. So, just as you prioritize your hectic work schedules with focus similarly, it's your responsibility to enforce time off to recuperate and relax. It's no secret that doing so will enhance productivity and interpersonal relationships both at work and at home. Finally, it's helpful to remind yourself that just as there is a place for regular short breaks. Equally relevant is a holiday with family and friends where you allow yourself to disconnect from your obligations of work and otherwise and make space for a mental reset.
Is it possible that the actual balance we seek is perhaps between negative and positive experiences? Maybe we are looking to balance our negative experiences of frustrations, anxiety, exhaustion and business with more positive experiences of joy, enjoyment, contentment and peace? And if you think that somehow despite your best efforts, your scale is tipping more towards experiences that leave you dissatisfied with life. It's helpful to remember that there is help available, and you can reach out for support. Take that first step towards hope and well-being.
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