“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.”
– Heather Schuck
I recently read a post on LinkedIn citing that the work-life balance approach was “bulls@&t” and opting for a different approach where “some days you’ll crush it, other days not so much”. This was widely commented on and received praise for advocating what was deemed a “blended” approach to work and life.
Work-life balance doesn’t have to be 50/50: it can be balanced in favour of your life or your work, whichever you prefer. 50/50 would be a perfect balance, but since when has life been perfect? And who’s to say the balance has to stay the same? It could vary day-to-day, depending on your priorities and needs. So, doesn’t this mean it’s a work-life blend? Who cares, it’s semantics. What’s important is that it works or you.
Whether you’re in favour of balanced or blended (or whatever) here are a few tips on avoiding the tipping point and some questions to ask yourself.
Recognise how you are at work and when you’re at home, and how that affects you and those around you. Being aware will enable you to identify what needs to change; all you have to do it figure how to do it.
- What are the impacts of work on your lifestyle?
- What are the impacts of your lifestyle on your work?
- Are you happy with who you are, what you do and how you do it?
- How do you make others feel when you’re at work or at home?
- How do you make them feel when you’re not at work or at home?
- What opportunities or experiences are you missing out on?
- How healthy are you physically and mentally?
- Do you have any bad habits? Be truthful now!
- How do others perceive you?
Set your goals
It’s important to have goals in life: they don’t have to be long term and there doesn’t need to be a plan; you just need a little direction, the best person to steer is you.
- What do you want to achieve and when do you want to achieve it?
- What do you need to do to get to where you want to be?
- How determined are you?
- What’s stopping you?
- How will you overcome obstacles?
- What’s driving you?
- Who can help you?
- What’s your definition of success?
- What principles will guide you?
Be master of your own destiny
You go to work because you want to, not because you’re told to. Your employer wants to get the most out of you, and you want satisfaction from what you do. For you both to get the things you want there needs to be compromise. Discuss with your employer what you need to enable you to do your best.
- Do you feel valued?
- Can you flex your time at work?
- Can you work remotely while on the move?
- Can you work from home?
- Do you know how you will use the extra time you’ve saved?
- If you’re on shift work, how do you ensure you have a healthy amount of time free between shifts?
- Can you decide when to take your own breaks? If not, discuss when you need them.
- If you’re bored at home, can you do a bit of work to stay on top of things?
- If you’re bored at work, can you ask for something to do or to take on new responsibility?
- Do you have too much to do or not enough?
- What are your priorities?
- Do you take your well-deserved holidays or roll them over?
- Are you honest about how you feel? If you’re not open how could anything possibly improve.
- Does your employer know their boundaries? Set the terms of when you’re contactable and when you’re not.
- How flexible are you willing to be?
- What do you need to do to be trusted and what needs to happen for you to trust others?
What steps will you take?