Finding That Elusive Work-Life Balance

Finding That Elusive Work-Life Balance

More than ever before, Millennial play many different roles in their lives. They are workers, parents, spouses, friends, caregivers of elderly relatives and volunteers in their communities. They must also make room in their lives for taking care of their own physical and mental well-being. Not surprisingly, achieving balance among all these competing priorities can be difficult. If you’re finding it difficult to balance the different elements of your life, you’re not alone. 58% of Millennial report ‘overload’ associated with their many roles – work, home and family, friends, physical health, volunteer and community service.

These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock. Fears of job loss encourage longer hours. In fact, in a Harvard Business Survey, a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week. It can be agreed that the compounding stress from the never-ending workday is damaging. It can hurt relationships, health and overall happiness.

There are often two main aspects associated with work-life balance. The first is lack of time and scheduling conflicts and the other is feeling overwhelmed, overloaded or stressed by the pressures of multiple roles. Work-life balance plans cannot be a one-size-fits-all model. There are many factors to consider such as the different generations at work, age, culture, family needs and socioeconomic status. There is no perfect one-size-fits-all balance you should be striving for. The best work-life balance is different for each of us because we all have different priorities and different lives.

Recently, there has been a shift in the workplace as a result of advances in technology. As Bowswell and Olson-Buchanan (2007) stated, ‘increasingly sophisticated and affordable technologies have made it more feasible for employees to keep contact with work’. Employees have many methods, such as emails, computers and cell phones, which enable them to accomplish their work beyond the physical boundaries of their office. Employees may respond to an email or a voice mail after-hours or during the weekend, typically while not officially ‘on the job’. Researchers have found that employees who consider their work roles to be an important component of their identities will be more likely to apply these communication technologies to work while in their non-work domain. It can also be suggested that this blurred boundary of work and life is a result of technological control.

Work-life balance means something different to every individual, yet you can find some tips to help you find the balance that’s right for you. People need time to think, relax and give themselves a break, otherwise productivity will decrease.

So what can workers do to stop stressing and start getting work-life balance right? Here are six things to remember in order to help you adjust your attitude and feel more in control right now!

Recognize the role of work
Work plays a significant part in life. It keeps the lights on, pays the mortgage, makes the car payment, funds retirement and permits yearly vacations.

Don’t be afraid to unplug
We live in a connected world that never sleeps. Turning off from the outside world provides time to recover from weekly stress.

Create (and stick to) a daily routine
Like maintaining a calendar, implementing a strong daily routine will help keep you on track to achieve the balance you want.

Make time for yourself
While being good at your job is important, it shouldn’t be your entire life. You were an individual before taking this position and you should prioritize those activities or hobbies that made you happy.

Take your vacation
Sometimes making time for yourself means taking a vacation and shutting work completely off.

Be present, consistent and accountable
Being present requires you to be attentive at home, at work and during free time. Where you spend your time and energy has a direct connection to how successful you are in achieving work-life balance.

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