01 Jul Work-Life Balance – Is it a Myth?
There is a misconception that work-life balance is achieved by spending as much time at home as we do at work. We all know that this is very hard to achieve, instead we must place focus on being 100% present when we are at home with our loved ones, spending quality time, and 100% present at work when we are there.
Too often we carry the stresses and worries everywhere we go and we don’t unplug when we are leaving the office or workplace. This causes depression, the sense of loneliness and a sense of an unfulfilled life. It also affects everyone around you and ends up in broken relationships or worse. It is a vicious cycle, a place you can’t escape from because if you are not happy at home, you won’t perform at work.
A more realistic approach, rather than working only 4 hours a day, is to begin the process of making work harmonise and integrate into other aspects of life. Many times, some of the biggest frustrations are due to expectations gone off track. Unintentionally, we put too much pressure on ourselves, having too much going on at one time so to keep our work and life in harmony, we must limit our big projects and missions to a handful. If you find yourself overworked, perhaps you’re working on too many projects at once. Here are three suggestions to get you started.
1. Create a weekly hierarchy list
Rank your objectives and tasks according to importance. An easy question to ask yourself is “if I only accomplished two to three things this week, what would the most important activities be that would propel my business forward?”. Focus this around important personal metrics such as relationships, time with kids or your hobbies. If you get more done that week – GREAT. But if not, you are still a success because you still achieved your two or three things you needed to get done. Remember, FOCUS CREATES FLOW.
2. Create daily work themes
This is a great exercise to keep you from bouncing back and forth. As an example, create a few designated days (or hours) to clear your emails or to create content or where you only focus on strategy and business planning. To get started, look at your various work roles and see if you can begin to set them up in blocks throughout the week. Set a day aside when you only meet clients, or set an hour aside each morning to answer your messages.
As business owners it is in our DNA to always be thinking about work which is why work-life balance isn’t practical as that preaches separation. Instead, with the actions above, you can start to achieve harmony and integration of your work and life.
The issue with phones and emails are that it is highly addictive. Every time you receive a notification it creates a hit of dopamine in our body, a chemical reaction in our brain. If you find yourself checking your phone first thing you wake up, before even saying “Good Morning” to the person next to you, you are addicted. If you find yourself panicking if you forgot your phone at home or feel the need to take it anywhere you go (even the toilet), you are most probably addicted. It creates isolation, even though you are on Facebook with all your 500 other friends. It also highlights the urging issue of not being able to communicate effectively anymore.
If you get home and your kids or life partner need you to be present, you know what to do. Unplug. This is your time to connect with your own life and it is your time to unwind from your busy day and charge up for the next. Nobody expects you to answer phone calls at night. We create an expectation to be available 24/7. It is not other people, it is us sabotaging our own work-life balance.
You will feel a lot more at peace if you allow yourself to switch off and take time to do the things that make you feel alive.