Are you unhappy with your work life balance?
Don’t worry, you’re not the only one!
According to the latest results from the Australian Work and Life Index 2010, a quarter of women working full-time and one fifth of similar men were dissatisfied with their work-life balance.
As many of us struggle to achieve the optimum balance, we can often feel stressed, anxious and overwhelmed that a smooth life seems like a very distant and sometimes impossible future.
It can be very convenient to point the finger and say it’s my jobs fault why I work so much or both my partner and I have to work to be able to support our family or many other reasons.
Don’t get me wrong, these could be very legitimate causes as to why you are experiencing the conflict that you are. It is important to start looking within to determine your work life balance conflict and what you can do about it.
What evidence do you have that you are struggling to achieve work life balance?
– Are you feeling stressed? Do you feel constantly rushed for time? Do you feel resentful when you’re at work that you should be at home?
What is your lack of work life balance costing you?
– This may be a difficult step, but try to give yourself some time for an honest assessment as to the consequences of your lack of work life balance. Remember this could be emotionally, spiritually, socially, physically, financially etc.
– What is it costing you? What is it costing your partner?
What is it costing your kids, family, friends, colleagues and others? Are you missing important family moments? Is your health suffering?
Are you lacking time and energy to do what you really want to be doing? Are you coming home cranky and taking it out on your loved ones?
Why are you not achieving your desired work life balance?
– We all live busy lives and sometimes we can get caught up in living, without taking a step back to stop and understand why we do what we do.
Gaining an awareness and appreciation of the driving forces that has led to your dissatisfaction with your work life balance will help you create the balance you want.
– Is it financial?
Are you putting in extra hours to get that promotion?
Is it the type of work, hours, workload or work environment?
Have you over committed yourself?
Are you trying to be everything to everyone?
What do you want?
– Now that you are more familiar with your current situation and some reasons behind your dissatisfaction, it is important to determine what you want.
This is the exciting part! There is no point trying to address an issue such as your work life balance conflict when you don’t have an overall goal in mind.
– It is important to consider your individual circumstances.
Of course I think we’d all like to be on a permanent holiday, but the reality is for most of us, we do need a regular income.
If you could design the life you wanted, considering your individual circumstances, what would this look like?
What would be the ideal work life balance for you?
- What can you do to make this happen – you should have an idea of where you are and where you want to be, now how do you go about getting there?
– Make a plan!
Okay, so you’ve worked out the ideal work life balance, now set a plan on how you go about achieving this.
Be specific around timeframe and breakdown each element in smaller steps so that you don’t feel so overwhelmed. E.g. The ultimate goal is to be running home from work three days per week within three months.
You may like to break this down into weekly targets, walking so many days in the first couple of weeks, then building up to a light jog towards the end of the second month etc.
– Time management!
Manage your time and schedule in those important events/people to ensure that you prioritise these into your life.
– Be resourceful!
Ask and/or get some help! I know many people who are very independent and sometimes struggle to reach out for assistance.
If you are stressed because you and your partner work full time, you have kids and a busy life, it may be worthwhile and if you can afford it, get some help – e.g. ironing, housework etc.
Sometimes time is more valuable than money.
– Speak to your Manager!
It may be worthwhile speaking with your Manager about your work life balance challenges and working with them to develop strategies to improve your work life balance whilst meeting business goals.
Some ideas may include asking for additional help, assistance prioritising or renegotiating deadlines, reducing your level of responsibility, reducing or arranging flexible hours, working from home or purchasing additional leave.
– Share what you’ve discovered with the people you love.
If you have been a little stressed to say the least, I’m sure your family or others would appreciate knowing what’s been happening and what type of a life you want to live and how they can be a part of it.
Depending on your work life balance conflict and your individual circumstances, it will very much vary the course of action.
You may have a long-term goal that demands more of you at work at the present time. It is important to acknowledge that and do what you can to create as much work life balance as possible.