The notion of work-life balance has become somewhat of a cliché as we scramble to stay up to date and ahead of the curve in our hyper-connected, technology-driven world.
In fact, 58% of Canadians report “overload” as a result of the pressures associated with work, family, friends, physical health and volunteer obligations. It would seem that the vast majority of us are living lives devoid of any balance.
Why Work-Life Balance Matters
The impact of poor work-life balance is felt by both employers and employees alike. For employers, a lack of work-life balance results in higher absenteeism, lower productivity, increased worker compensation claims and poor employee retention.
On the flip side, individuals with poor work-life balance are three times more likely to suffer from heart problems, infections, injuries, mental health problems and back pain and as much as five times more likely to be diagnosed with certain cancers.
It’s a lose-lose for everyone.
Unless it is addressed, poor work-life balance is not simply a cliché but a very real-life conundrum.
So how can you successfully turn the tides and carve out a sense of balance in your life?
Two simple words.
And yet, they elude so many of us.
Saying no is a crucial notion if you are going to achieve a sense of work life balance. Not only should you master the art of saying no, but you should also be able to do so without guilt.
At home and at work, understand what matters most fundamentally, and say no to the things that don’t.
Is it critical that you participate in that late-day meeting that will keep you at the office until 7:00 PM? Does your great aunt really need your help to set up her new desk? Are you sure you can handle the demands of yet another non-profit commitment?
If the answer is no, then just say no.
Prioritize Me Time
Once you have mastered how to say no, make it a priority to schedule time for yourself.
It is so easy to become buried in your obligations to others – at work and at home – but if you don’t self indulge, just a little bit, you will surely feel a lack of balance.
Exercise, meditate, spend time with friends, read a great book or indulge in a hobby. Prioritize me time.
Set Realistic Goals
It’s great to overachieve, but a) you needn’t do this one hundred percent of the time and b) overachievement is not always realistic.
Make sure that you are setting achievable goals with reasonable time frames and you will feel less overwhelmed.
Establish Technology Boundaries
We are so hyper-connected in today’s world. Between social media, email, text messaging and even the phone, we are reachable 100% of the time.
But that does not mean you should feel obligated to respond 100% of the time.
Make a point to unplug when you get home. Time with your children should not be compromised by technology demands. Set boundaries that help diminish your sense of commitment and limit the drain imposed by technology.
Use Your Vacation
Vacation is almost always an option. And you should always use it.
You will be more productive, better rested, reenergized and refreshed.
Vacation can also help you clear your mind and offer new perspective for challenges looming.
You should take vacation from work, but you should also take vacation from your family, from time to time. Make sure to get away with friends, with your spouse, or even alone so that you can recharge.
If you are an employer, you can help encourage work life balance by implementing policies that encourage some of the strategies noted in this post.
For more information on how to establish a sense of work-life balance and to understand how it can impact your business, contact Miller Bernstein today.