What is Work-Life Balance?

What is work-life balance, exactly?

It’s an important question to ask, because to achieve it, you need to know what it is.

When you do, you can set about improving yours.

In this context, ‘work’ boils down to the stuff you have to do; ‘life’ is the things you want to do.

A useful definition:

You have a healthy work-life balance when you feel you are giving an appropriate or 'healthy' amount of time, energy and effort to both aspects -- your work and your personal life.

What isn’t work-life balance?

In a word... common.

Too many people feel they work too hard or too long. Time for fun, family and friends gets squeezed, particularly for people with high stress jobs.

On the other hand, a lack of meaningful work can have an equally negative impact. Time and tasks soon get taken for granted when days, hours and minutes don’t matter so much.

What is work-life balance for you?

Do you feel you have the balance about right?

Obviously things change; work flow peaks and troughs. Taking this into account, do you feel that you're balanced?

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 for the following, 10 being completely satisfied:

  • Current working hours
  • Ability to say no
  • Ability to delegate work tasks
  • Leaving work on time
  • Overall efficiency at work
  • Time for yourself
  • Time for those you want to be with
  • Ability to relax when you get the chance
  • Overall feeling of balance

There are no magazine type answers to these questions. You know the ones?  “If you scored less than 10 then you’re stressed out!”

Real life can’t be quantified like that.

What they do give you is a snapshot of how you currently feel about your sense of balance. The lower your score, the greater the impact if you choose to improve it.

Once you know what the issues are, you can do something about them.

For example, you may have given yourself a low score in terms of time for yourself. What are the reasons for that? More to the point, what could you realistically do about it? It may involve reducing a role or cutting a commitment.

So, what is work-life balance?  It’s an ongoing challenge that will continually test your ability to manage your time.

Get there and by and large, stay there.

But that’s only a skill, and all skills are learnable…

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