With the vacation season coming to a close, many of us are going to get back to the grind of working too much, not getting enough sleep, eating poorly and not getting enough exercise. The concept of work life balance to most is just a bunch of theoretical baloney espoused by a bunch of talking-head motivational speakers and organizational leaders. There’s simply no way out of the imbalance, right?
First let’s get clear on the primary purpose of achieving work life balance. It’s about minimizing stress in your life. Much of the stress in a typical person’s life is derived from work. You can say you’ve got work life balance, but in addition to working full-time, you might participate in many activities with the kids, volunteer at the local homeless shelter, and exercise five days a week. If you’re feeling stressed and tired you haven’t achieved the primary intent of work life balance, which is to reduce stress. All you have done is balanced the degree of stress you have in your work life with the stress you have in your non-work life. So now, you have stress not only in your work life but also in your “life” life. Sure, it’s balanced, but you’re even more stressed than ever.
There are a few basic tenets that I have learned (the hard way, of course) regarding achieving work life balance:
Work life balance doesn’t mean you never have to burn the midnight oil to get a project done. There will be times you will need to work hard to meet a deadline. What work life balance does mean, though, is that burning the midnight oil will only be an exception, not a regular event.
Achieving work life balance doesn’t give you a get-out-of-jail-free card to not work hard or only work a few hours a week. We were meant to work and to provide for ourselves. It just means that work is done in moderation and not to an extreme.
Realizing the quest for work life balance means doing some serious soul searching. If you acknowledge you are a workaholic and don’t want to change, then anything I or anyone else will say to you won’t be worth much. Acknowledging you are a workaholic is the first and most important step to getting on the road to work life balance.
This topic is very near and dear to me; so much so that I wrote a self-study seminar on it with a self-assessment plan to help you see where your weak points are and devise an improvement plan to help you get better balance. It’s also free, no-strings-attached. If you are interested in getting better work life balance get the self-study work life balance seminar
now with my compliments and best wishes.
Best to you –
Lonnie Pacelli is an internationally recognized project management and leadership author and consultant with over 20 years experience at Microsoft, Accenture and his own company, Leading on the Edge International. Read more about Lonnie, subscribe to his newsletter, see his books and articles, and get lots of free self-study seminars, webcasts and resources.