Ever feel like your life is all work and no play? Has your body left work, but your mind is still there? Are you constantly plugged-in, checking your device after every ping? Maybe you're beginning to wonder what your family looks like? Perhaps you even feel like you're caught in a work-landslide with no way of escape. You may even be wondering if your job is worth it.
It's been spoken-about, grappled-with and agonised-over for decades... this thing called work-life balance. What is it? And can it be achieved?
Let's have a look at some statistics around this:
- “69% of professionals in NZ state that work life balance, including flexible working, is their top priority when seeking a new role.”
- 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey.
For those of you who are teachers or school leaders:
- Teachers work, on average, 18 hours a week in addition to the 32.5 classroom hours
- New Zealand teachers worked, on average, 22 days of the holidays
- Approximately 72% of school leaders work more than 51 hours per week during term, with 25% working more than 61 hours a week. Even during the term break, half worked more than 25 hours a week.
- School leaders score less than the general population on all positive measures of health and wellbeing and higher on all negative measures.
Now that you're feeling positively optimistic about those stats (Yeah right!), let's get practical.
I have some questions for you to ponder that may provide some action-points for you to create more balance in your life...
- Are there ebbs and flows in your work year, or is your pedal constantly to the metal? If so how can you utilise these to re-group? Or if not; Why is this?
- What 'space' do you create for yourself during the day in terms of head, emotional or physical space?
- Of all the things you are concerned about, what can you directly control? What might you have influence over? What is out of your control or influence? What will you let-go-of?
- How often do you check your devices during the day? What might it look like if you were to create some boundaries around this?
- If you are working in a head-led space, how are you balancing that out with physical activities, or vice-versa?
- How much of what you do at work is directly in your job-description versus those things you couldn't say NO to? How might you create more focus or alignment around this?
- What are your values? How have they morphed over the years? Do your values align with the way you need to work within your current work? How might you like it to look?
If you want to create balance, you need to identify where you don't have it, why this is occurring and what actions you need to take to regain control over your life. This may all sound wonderful on 'paper', but in reality can be darn hard. Old habits creep-in, demands of others take priority and the 'to-do' list keeps getting longer.
It starts small. Look to create mini-rituals around the changes you wish to create. It may be as you're on your way home, you turn-off your work-phone, or place it on silent. Ask someone for support so you don't self-sabotage or return to old habits. Start small with support.