Balance in any endeavor is difficult. In fact, it’s definitionally precarious, as it involves an attempt to hold steady between two intense, competing forces. Consider the difficulty faced by tightrope walkers or NASA engineers attempting to send a satellite into orbit. Or just think back to yourself as a little kid, first learning to ride a bike.
Given these inherent problems, it’s no surprise you have trouble maintaining a satisfying work/life equilibrium. It’s a constant struggle of recalibration.
So, what can you do if you start to lean too far in one direction? What happens if work’s gravity starts to get the upper hand and you feel the other aspects of your life being neglected?
There are steps you can take to even things out. Here are some tips to help readjust when your work/life balance starts to tip too far toward work.
Don’t Make Excuses for Missing Out on Life
A lot of workaholics spin the devotion to their professional life as a crypto commitment to family and fun. “I’m doing this for my kids,” or “we have to have enough for retirement,” or “if I work hard now, I’ll have enough money to live it up when I’m older.”
Unfortunately, these are usually empty justifications. Be honest with yourself and realize the potential damage an over-emphasis on work can do.
Make a Strict Schedule
When mapping out your workday, you budget your time judiciously. Keep up this policy … just include your free time when figuring out your schedule.
Treat a date with your spouse like you would treat lunch with a client. Give your kid’s softball game the same priority level you would give a project meeting.
Put Devices Away
You might promise you’ll focus on family dinner, but if the phone dings, it’s hard to ignore that text from work. Don’t tempt your willpower.
Like an alcoholic throwing away all the bottles of booze in the house, sometimes you have to get some physical distance from your addiction. (Yes, we’re counting work as an addiction in this case.) During family time, stick your phone in a drawer in another room and keep your laptop in its case. Do whatever you have to in order to put them completely out of your mind.
You know how it goes. You sneak back to the hotel during a family vacation to jump on a conference call. You try to bang out some emails during halftime of the basketball game.
But these attempts usually end up causing hurt feelings, while simultaneously lowering the quality of your work. Trying to split the difference between work and free time leaves you shorting both.
Take a Big Annual Getaway
Most of the year, you might have to dedicate yourself to work. Your job may require your almost undivided attention, and your family and friends will just have to learn to deal with it 50 weeks out of the year.
Even so, try to make up for it with a complete work-free holiday. When you unplug from work, unplug completely. Dedicate yourself to your non-work life during a grand, annual adventure.
It might not fully make up for the time you miss, but you can build memories and relationships, as well as stoking outside interests. It will help keep you a well-rounded person.
Great companies realize they ultimately benefit from allowing their employees to enjoy a positive work/life balance. If your current employer takes an overly shortsighted view of the subject, it might be time for a change.
SmartTalent can help you find a position that fits perfectly into your ideal lifestyle, allowing you to achieve the type of equilibrium that maximizes your overall satisfaction. Contact SmartTalent today to find out more.