The Importance of Work Life Balance

January 03, 2018

The Importance of Work Life Balance in 2018

If you’re a woman who has a career, a family, and a life, you undoubtedly know how challenging it is to achieve work life balance. You also probably made a New Year’s resolution related to the importance of work life balance in 2018. In fact, even if your list of resolutions doesn’t include the words “work life balance,” chances are, your goals for this fresh new year are steeped in your search for that holiest of grails.

To wit, only one of the ten top resolutions are even related to your career, with 14 percent of people saying they want to find a new job in 2018. The rest of your resolutions include such mainstays as “lose weight,” “get in shape,” “spend less time on social media,” and “focus more on self-care,” all of which require you to spend more focused time on achieving a balance in your life that leaves you feeling better about yourself, your body, and your habits during your off hours. For many, the importance of work life balance means focusing more on your life and less on your work. But that’s not necessarily realistic, given that you need to work to live. Taking more time off isn’t generally the best solution.

So, now what? You’ve made some resolutions, and you know that you want to achieve better balance. But what does that mean? And are your goals the right ones? How should you tackle them? And what if you (as you inevitably will) temporarily lose focus? Read on for answers to your most common questions:

    1. What is the importance of work life balance? First, you need to know that work life balance is a concept, not an end goal. You don’t simply achieve it and bask forever in the glory of having done so. It’s a concept, one that requires consistent effort to maintain. Sound tough? Well, it can be. But most things in life do require consistent effort and regular recalibration, from being an effective parent, to having a satisfying marriage, to enjoying a successful career, to staying fit and healthy. But to answer the original question, effective work life balance is related to daily achievement and enjoyment in both settings. That is to say, when you effectively balance your work and home lives at once, you enjoy both and you constantly achieve your goals for both.
    2. What goals should I set that will help me achieve better work life balance? To tackle the beast that is the importance of work life balance, you need to set measurable goals for both your work and your life that will help you achieve the end result you desire. Say you feel your work time bleeds into your personal time too often. In this case, your work-related resolutions might include (no more than one or two!) realistic, quantifiable, trackable goals that will help you achieve better results at work in the time you’re there, such as:
  • Spend no more than 10 minutes a day on social media during my lunch hour.
  • Get to work at 8 am and leave at 4 pm every day.

These two goals enable you to focus more intently on your work while you’re at the office and challenge you to get your work done within the parameters you set for yourself.

After six weeks, if you’re meeting these goals most of the time, you can try adding in one or two more, such as:

  1. Give full consideration to requests to work on new projects unrelated to my core workload and say no no to projects I don’t have time to give my full and complete attention to
  2. Meeting with my supervisor every week from 9 am to 10 am on Thursdays to assess my progress on work projects and discuss challenges.

These changes will help you ensure you’re achieving your goals at work while getting the most enjoyment out of your job.

How about your home life? Think about what you really want to achieve. If it’s that you want to spend more quality time with your children, you might set the following realistic, quantifiable, trackable goals:

  1. Put my phone in my bedroom (or another not easily accessible area) when I get home each day.
  2. Get my children ready for bed by 8:15 so I can read to them for 15 minutes each night before they go to sleep.

Again, after six weeks, if you’ve got these down pat, add in a couple more:

  1. Make Sundays electronics-free days for the entire family.
  2. Institute family game night on Saturday nights from 7 pm to 8 pm.

The keys are not to try to implement these changes all at once, regularly assess your progress, and accept that there will be days when you make mistakes or forget to follow your own rules. When this happens, put it in the past and resolve to continue to work at making the changes you want to make and living the life you want to live. Remember, the importance of work life balance is rooted in consistent effort! There will always be times in your life when you “fall off the wagon,” but when you do, just get up, dust yourself off, and hop back on!

Have other questions related to the importance of work life balance? Check out my previous blog on work-life balance coaching. Want more tips on living well, no matter your age? If so, I invite you to check out the rest of my website, follow me on social media, and look out for me on television!