Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What does a healthy work-life balance look like?

I have been noticing in the past year an emphasis on Work-Life Balance. Could it be because I am paying more attention to this? Yes, can it also be because of it's relevance to keeping everything in moderation? Yes.

Before we get into this topic I just want to say that things that are relevant to what you are doing and looking for in life will seem to pop up everywhere, yes we have covered this in one of my previous posts, but I did fail to mention that relevance matters.

Okay, so what is work-life balance? Can each person have their own interpretation of what work-life balance is? Certainly, but that doesn't answer the first question. Let's dive into it.

Work-life balance is a measuring tool, a way to be mindful of your daily activities. The purpose is to identify if you are happy more often than not. Each one of us has their own version of what it means to be happy, as I have mentioned above, and each one of us translates what this balance looks like.

For myself, work-life balance looks like this; Spend time with my girlfriend some of the time everyday, work most of the time everyday (communicate with clients, partners, work on projects, etc.), leave time for friends and family for at least a day or two per week, and keep in touch with friends daily. Volunteer at least once or twice a month, read daily, eat healthy and exercise daily.

This is the perfect balance for me, do I get to do this everyday exactly how I want to? No, I do however, do this most days and that's what keeps me sane, this is what makes me the person I am today.

Does this make me a workaholic? Do I need to attend workaholics anonymous? No. Let me tell you why, and remember my version of work-life balance is different than yours.

Work makes me happy, work makes me feel that I have a purpose in which I am put on this earth for. Work gives me energy for everything else that I am doing. Of course I go through times dreading moving onto the next stage or having to solve problems in my businesses. However, when this happens I think more in terms of the grander vision. What would my business look like if I moved forward?

The more meaningful my work is the more I enjoy it. Yes, there are some aspects of work that will be monotonous.

I was talking to a friend of mine about work-life balance and she seems to believe everything should be divided into equal distribution like the spokes in a wheel on a bike. Everything should be configured into a pie chart and it needs to even itself out.

I thought to myself when I first reviewed this chart, sure this makes sense. Why not have my activities evenly proportioned?

Upon closer review and testing this method I realized very quickly how much less happy this made me, even more so than before I tested this theory. How can this be?

Well as I have mentioned above, most times what works for me will not work for you. For my friend having her daily activities evenly divided makes sense to her, and makes her life more enjoyable. However, if I am not spending time doing more work I am less happy.

I need to work. Plain and simple. It is the life blood of my mechanism, it is the source of my energy.

This theory that everything needs to be balanced is truly up to you to decide what that means. No it does not mean that you have to work 50% of the time and function the rest of your life 50% of the time. You might work 100% of the time and find that you are completely happy in your life.

Let's stop here for one second and examine what it means to be happy, addicted, and what exactly fuels your body. Is it the hormone chemicals in your body? Is it the ego? Is it all of the above or none?

Being happy should not mean that you get a surge or a rush of excitement really quickly and then have it dissipate. Instead it should be a gradual level that continuously goes up and down that does not alter any major changes in your body.

Now lets be careful here and understand that too much of anything can cause problems in other areas of your life. "Your life and body is like an eco-system it is a host of other organisms that all function together, in unison." Like a well oiled machine, when all the parts work well the machine runs at an optimal level.

Some of you may think well what is wrong with getting a rush of excitement? Nothing is wrong with this, but if this is the only thing that energizes you, then you need to rethink what you are doing, most importantly, why you are doing it.

Let's take a look at what the experts have to say;

Psychologist Robert Brooks: " Ask yourself: In what other ways am I bringing greater enjoyment into my life?" Brooks says. "Focus your time and attention on things you can control."

Coach, consultant and trainer at Radiant Organizing, Sara Caputo "I guess for me work-life balance means that I am taking care of myself and taking the time for me that I need to feel grounded and supported without guilt and without hesitation. I know that when I do this, I show up better in all areas of my life.”

Author Keith Ferrazzi explains to us in his most popular work Never Eat Alone "work-life balance is not an equation it is a mindset that cannot be bough or sold. Joy brings you balance, if your work brings you joy then in turn it will bring you balance."

As you can clearly see that work-life balance is different for everyone but the most important aspect is the relationship you have with yourself and the people in your life. If EVERYONE is happy most of the time, your "balance" is in place.

Do not worry I have not left one of the more important aspects of this balance, sleep. We have covered this topic already and we know how important sleep is. Let me note here that without incorporating good sleep into your "balance" you will not be functioning well in any areas of your life, that's how important sleep is!

I have also thought about balance more in which you should experience something uncomfortable followed by something comfortable and this goes in a constant revolution.

My career is a lifestyle. My work is my life and vise versa. Many of yours may think so too, and yes you can turn your 9-5 job into a lifestyle, it is how you perceive and then behave accordingly.

What does your work-life balance look like? Ask yourself, are you happy most of the time, are the people in your life satisfied or constantly complaining about your work-life habits? Drop me an email, I would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading this post. To be continued....

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