Depending on the nature of your employment it can be really difficult to maintain a proper work/life balance. Some employers understand the value of achieving such and would lead and manage their organisations to facilitate healthy practices that would help to support the overall well being of their employees. In other instances, such support may not be forthcoming.
Full time jobs with fixed daily hours where the focus is mainly on achieving objectives and hardly any focus on the instruments (you and I) through which these objectives are made possible, can be gruesomely demanding. It may be difficult to achieve balance in such conditions; this is the reality of many.
To dive deeper into this discussion here are some of the red flags that most likely indicates that you seriously lack work/life balance.
- Your 8 or 9 hour job is really a 12 or 16 hour job. In reality this is the time needed to accomplish your daily tasks and to achieve those annual objectives.
- It is always difficult for you to proceed on vacation due to your workload.
- Your body is experiencing layers of stress and fatigue and low energy.
- You have grown distant from your family and quality time spent together is rare.
- Your creative juices for engaging with hobbies or a social life is dying or its just impossible to make it happen.
- You become distracted by your responsibilities at work when attempting to focus on personal and family matters.
- Invitations from others are difficult to entertain, whether its an invitation to speak, to go hiking or to pray together.
- You fall asleep when your spouse is sharing with you something interesting about his/her day.
- Your daily chores or responsibilities at home are being neglected.
- You are unable to maintain consistency in your schedules for exercising and other self-care activities.
It is only logical to now ask, what are those factors that create such outcomes? Here are some suggestions to consider:
- Poor time management
- Your workload requires more than one employee to effectively manage it.
- There is no limit (you are often expected to work after hours and to be available on weekends and public holidays) to the demands made by your employer and you have been accommodating same.
- Your Supervisor or Boss is disorganised and as such it is difficult to practicing proper planning and execution of daily tasks and projects in accordance with plans.
I believe most of us want to ensure that the contributions we are making to our employers daily are valuable. In other words we want to make sense at work; our job must be meaningful. The glaring fact is that the existence of the factors listed above makes it difficult for us to achieve such success at work and when that proves to be difficult over and over every aspect of our lives is affected. We then seek to compensate for these gaps by extending ourselves in order to please our employees and to accomplish objectives.
For example: If you are often late at work or you fail to plan effectively, you would encounter difficulty in accomplishing tasks. On the other-hand, you may be able to plan effectively and your productivity levels are consistently high but despite this you continue to regularly have work outstanding.
Many other examples can be mentioned, however it is important for us to identify what the key contributing factors are and seek to address them. If we don’t we can very easily spend years seeking to effectively perform a job and fail to achieve your fullest potential. We should never procrastinate on addressing the hindrances faced in achieving work/life balance. Don’t give up before trying to fix it, don’t give up after trying to fix it. Keep trying. Note however, that sometimes, the solution is to walk away from that employer and seek a different environment in which your career and personal goals can be better aligned with the goals of your employer.
I have experienced the sad dilemma where individuals allow themselves to be trapped in employment that drains their every substance, presents them with occupational sickness, undue stress and personal sacrifices that yields limited returns. They arrive at retirement feeling unappreciated, burnt out and empty. We are guilty of desiring better quality life, talking about it, complaining about not having it and doing absolutely nothing about it.
May this article inspire you to continue pursuing work/life balance; the quality of life you yearn to live daily. Pursuing such a goal could mean a number of different things: Facing your fears, daring to speak up and even giving up certain comforts or privileges. Whatever you do, don’t ever stop working towards that work/life balance. We all need to remain mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually sound.