“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” - Heather Schuck
What does leading a balanced life actually mean?
For each one of us, the answer to this question might be different. In this article, we want to explore how the ideas of work-life balance have changed with our lifestyles over the recent years; what affected these changes, and how we can cope with them while still achieving what we all strive for: a happy life.
Why balance matters
Your work inevitably affects your life, and vice versa. Think about it -- does it affect your life (your family/living situation/social and economic situation) if you get a pay raise or if you lose your job? It certainly does. On the other hand, does your life affect your work? Would it affect your work if you had a difficult family situation, or were going through a rough breakup or divorce? It most definitely would.
We, as human beings, have chosen variety over perfection – we are not robots who are meant to be perfect at doing one thing. We have chosen to live a fulfilled life – a life where we work, have spouses, families, friends, hobbies – and therefore we must accept that there will always be ups and downs in all aspects of our lives – we are simply incapable of keeping it all at a perfect level at all times.
The generational shift
Research has shown that over half of the Generation Y believes that work-life balance is one of the most important issues and should be everyone’s top priority. Millenials are demanding work-life balance more than any generation before.
There is a clash of opinions between the older generations and the younger ones regarding how work should be structured and how much time should be spent on the job. Younger generations report feeling pressured to work around the clock as they would feel undervalued and less hard-working unless they do. Generations preceding Millenials did not have the same issues, as the technology shift from fixed communications to mobile communications was what has redefined how and where we work -- making it possible to work around the clock, even after you leave your workplace.
Achieving balance in 2019
So, how do we stop leading hectic lifestyles and work on getting to that sweet spot of being happy at our workplace and in other areas of our lives? These three steps should be a good starting point in realizing this for each one of us:
(1) Define work-life balance yourself.
The first logical step seems to be realizing that achieving balance is a very individual concept for each one of us. If something works for others, that does not mean that it will work for you as well. It seems to make much more sense using the term creating our own balance -- in the end, it’s up to each one of us, individually, to balance out all the things that we deal with in our daily lives. We should stop comparing ourselves to others; how you lead your life has nothing to do with how those around you do -- we are all different, and therefore our approach to creating balance has to be unique.
(2) Think of work-life balance from a calendar-year view.
If you know that July might be a busy month when you’ll have to work overtime and put your focus on your job, be determined to make up for it by focusing on your personal life in June or August. We all know that sometimes, we cannot control the amount of obligations our job requires us to fulfill -- but having in mind that these periods will happen and that we should use the time before or after these periods wisely, to make up for it in other areas of our lives, is very important.
(3) No one will provide work-life balance, you must seek it.
As much as we all like to think that we can multitask and manage our employer, coworkers, clients, family, friends, hobbies at the same time; and cope with stress that comes from all of this on top of it all -- we all need to learn that balancing out our work and private life should be our priority. If you respond to emails 24-hours a day, your employer (and colleagues; clients) will expect this from you every time -- that’s why you need to set your personal boundaries as early on as possible, and make sure to stick to them.
For today’s generations, success is not defined by climbing up the corporate ladder, or having fancy job titles; rather than that, success today means having control over how and when we work and accumulating various life experiences -- both of which are enabled by achieving a better work-life balance.
We hope this article helped you gain a new perspective on achieving this balance in this day and age.