Nothing beats working hard and being rewarded for it. It’s equally as important also to be able to enjoy life and take it easy at times. Most people find this balance quite tricky. Juggling the demands of a career and a personal life is for most people an ongoing challenge, especially when employers are demanding more and more of their employees.
The very idea of having a ‘work-life balance’ will seem alien to most, nothing more than a pipe dream. How do you ensure you maintain a good career path while making time for your family and yourself? Or what about the other way around, can you enjoy your time off when you feel that the work competition is breathing down your neck? With the current pressures, can you ever do something as indulgent as look for Cessna planes to fly and not feel that you’re being passed left and right?
You have to prioritize first of all. If you really want to find a work-life balance, and some people simply don’t, you need to really consider what you wish to achieve both personally and professionally. Think about all the things that compete for your time and decide what’s worth keeping and what to let go of. For example, if you are volunteering in your spare time for multiple organizations, it might be wise to choose just one and drop the others. Or if you have volunteered to take on 3 extra projects on top of your work, pick the one you either enjoy the most or you feel will be most beneficial to you. Being able to do one thing well always beats having to juggle multiple, and not being able to give it your 100%.
Also, don’t forget that your employer has no interest in burning you out. Find out what your employer’s policies are in terms of flex working and working from home. You will be surprised about the possibilities there are in companies to organize work around the employee.
Communicate with your line manager and HR about creating efficiencies in work. For example, it could help to have a day off every 2 weeks as a family day and give the employer an extra hour a day. It could be a win-win situation. Employers understand that to get 100% out of their employees, they need to treat their staff well, so they are sharp and agile. Making sure work fits around life is a crucial way of doing so.
Even with prioritization and a willing employer, you can still find yourself stressed out in life and work. If this is the case, you might be one of those people who can’t say no. You are usually the first one that a friend or family member or your colleagues at work ask for a favor. If that sounds familiar, try to remember when the last time was when you said no. It might have been some time ago. And that’s the paradox of having a good ‘work-life balance.’ It might not be about the things you (can) say ‘yes’ to, it might just be about the stuff you can say ‘no’ to.