Create the work-life balance that’s right for you
Everyone wants to live a more balanced life on a daily basis. It can be a struggle, you can achieve a work-life balance If all five of the following conditions are met:
You Want It
Not everyone wants traditional work-life balance, typically meaning that you have enough time for basic self-care like sleep, exercise and nutrition and a connection with key people like friends and family members. If that’s not for you, you should identify how much time you need outside of work to achieve the things you prioritise.
Ultimately though, you won’t be able to bring about lasting behavioural change if you don’t intrinsically want it.
You Believe It
To have true work-life balance, you need to not only believe it’s possible in a theoretical sense but also believe it’s possible personally for you. Experts say this belief comes from a combination of seeing someone whom you relate to experiencing work-life balance and/or starting to attempt it yourself and witnessing positive results. Without a sense of hope, it’s nearly impossible to stick it out through the uncomfortable process of breaking old habits and forming new ones. To make it through this difficult withdrawal stage, you need to have faith that the changes will really pay off in the end.
You Value It
We have a limited amount of time each day, and how we invest it determines what kind of life we create. Work-life balance comes at a professional cost for most people. For those who highly value life outside of work, these macro-level decisions that give them the opportunity to live a balanced life are worth the potential cost and risk to their business.
You Know How
Many people want, believe in, and value work-life balance, but they just don’t know how to change. If you’ve always seen colleagues and mentors work crazy hours, you don’t have good role models to show you how to behave in a balanced manner. And it’s hard to know how to think and act differently if you’ve always operated in one way. As the quote often attributed to Einstein goes: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Almost anyone who meets the above four criteria can see improvement in their work-life balance. But for people who thrive in high-pressure environments, achieving traditional work-life balance and moving their career forward effectively may or may not be possible to the same extent as others.
For individuals who fit this profile, the best strategy is to clarify action-based priorities in key areas. This includes things like seven hours of sleep a night, working out five days a week, or having family dinner six days a week. Then you need to focus on making these priorities into routines that allow them to consistently invest their time in these core areas while still keeping up a fairly high level of intensity in your work during the remaining hours. Work-life balance is possible for everyone who meet the above five criteria, but for those who don’t, it’s not.