What is “Work-Life Balance”?Work-life balance is the healthy blend of your professional and personal responsibilities. It’s about being able to make the two work together over the long term.
So what happens when your work takes over your life?When your life gets thrown off balance, you will start to have doubts about work and youmay find yourself asking if this is the kind of life you want. You will feel that it's getting harder to meet the increasing demands of your work and life and you never have enough time. You suffer from tiredness because when work begins to take priority over other aspects of your life, it takes away the time needed for you to rest and unwind. You will start to burn yourself out in the long run, damaging your body more than you realise. You are unable to concentrate on the tasks at hand, and are more prone to mistakes than before. Also spending more time at work naturally means you have less time to spend with those who matter such as family, friends and loved ones.
As the demands from work begin to eat away your leisure time, resentment and aversion start to build up. Many people do not see as much of their children as they would like.
You may even be easily annoyed or irritated by friends and family as you feel that they do not understand what you are going through. Over time, the quality of relationships with your loved ones will undoubtedly deteriorate. You may feel frustrated and confused because you have not only lost control of your life; you are unable to see how you can change the situation.
Therefore, it's important for you to have equal pleasure in the other aspects of your life so you can maintain a healthy balance; mentally, psychologically, socially and physically, or you may probably end up losing the joy of work.
Some common signs of burn out include :
Anxiety due to stress, migraines, insomnia, depression, and even high blood pressure, all of which often leads to an increased need for sick leave. As a result, productivity takes a sharp dive as you struggle to keep up by doing more to compensate for downtime. Eventually you will end up feeling even more stressed than ever, creating a ripple effect that spills over to your personal life and relationships.
I would encourage you to look at your work life balance
Working hard at a job you enjoy can feel great, if, even during the busiest times. If you are still feeling the buzz; you are tired but happy; then you probably have the right balance between work and the rest of your life. But if you are so consistently tied up with the demands of your job that you feel that it pretty much is your life, then it is likely that you have the balance wrong. There is probably only so long you will be able to carry on and if this is the case you could be heading for burnout.
There are various problems with people encounter in their working lives today, including:
- Working days not having a clearly defined beginning and end
- The boundaries between work life and home life becoming blurred
- Technology meaning that we can be accessible at any time and any place
- Work holism – addiction-like dependence on work
- Putting in very long hours in the workplace late at night or early in the morning
- Inner conflict between our personal desires and what our job requires us to do
- Prioritising work over personal plans
- Fatigue from over work
- Work stress affecting personal relationships
Are you workaholic?Here is simple questionnaire I would encourage you to do to check your working patterns:
- Do you respond to non- urgent calls, texts and emails which are work -related in the evenings and at weekends?
- Do you voluntarily work long hours?
- Do you find it difficult to delegate?
- Do you find it difficult to say no to work requests
- Do you find it difficult to relax and switch off
- Do you have problems getting enough sleep?
- Do your family, friends or partner complain they don’t see enough of you?
If you answer yes to one or two of those questions it could simply be that you are dedicated to your work, which is not a problem. It is important for you to be on your guard, though, as the line between dedication and obsessive devotion is a fine one.
If you answered yes to more than two questions, this could indicate that your work patterns are heading towards problematic workaholism. You may want to consider the possibility that this could be affecting your health and relationships, and in the long term, possibly your career.
Here are steps you can take to improve your work life balance
1. Answer the following questions:
- Do I feel my life is in balance with my work?
- What aspects of my work -life balance would I like to change
- What is stopping me making these changes
- How would I like my work-life balance to be
- My perfect job - what would my perfect job be in terms of work-life balance
3. Look at the first item on the list - write down what is stopping you from doing this and what you would need to start to addressing it
As with most things in life, moderation is the key. Balance helps to create harmony and peace of mind. People who are constantly tied to their jobs deal with the symptoms of stress and burnout.