For many years now, work-life balance has become a predominant issue in the workplace and a significant organizational concern.
While many organizations have implemented policies and initiatives in this regard, several studies show that most working professionals still fail to achieve that elusive work-life harmony. A recent HBS survey has shown that 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week.
Having an organizational framework that supports the idea of work-life balance can certainly be helpful. Nonetheless, I am of the view that this is strictly a matter of personal choice and that it is entirely up to us to live our lives the way we want to.
We spend 1/3 of our lives sleeping and 1/3 working. Yet, most of us choose to spend the remaining 1/3 of our lives “working overtime” or “resting after work” – if you think about it, this is such a giant waste of time and life. No wonder work becomes draining, life becomes unbearable and the popular feeling of – not having time to do anything else – kicks in.
Work-life balance can mean a lot of things to a lot of people…
…nonetheless, in principle, we can all agree that it means having a satisfying amount of time and energy available for leisure activities. These may vary from quality time spent with your family or pursuing a hobby (i.e., traveling, music, arts, etc.) to the time dedicated exercising on a regular basis and maintaining a healthy diet.
Here are the BIG FOUR rules that I personally follow to maintain a satisfying balance between my work life and my lovely after nine-to-five reality.
#1 Logout, Shutdown and Unplug
I am a responsible and accountable working professional.
I enjoy what I’m doing at work.
I’m always willing to help others outside of working hours.
I emotionally log out from my work life the second I leave the office.
There is no use to take that pressure or those work problems home with you – that will certainly not make them go away. Unplugging your damn self and not letting work define your mood or interfere with your personal life is critical for conserving the energy necessary to enjoy your actual life.
#2 Plan Ahead
Planning is good.
Planning is important.
A tight and organized schedule will allow you to prioritize, be efficient and not waste any single minute doing something you’re not supposed to do. I’ve got friends who never make it to social gatherings on time, if they even get there, or barely even manage to get a vacation because, I quote, “there’s work to be done” – I dare to say that, if you truly want to reclaim your life, the first thing to do is to accept that work will never be “done”.
Plan everything in advance.
Make it like there’s no way out of it.
#3 Don’t Assume
It could be that a spontaneous activity has come to your attention, but you’re supposed to be at work. Don’t just decide for yourself and assume that it is off limits. Dare to ask your supervisor for permission to leave. I had a 100% success rate with doing this 😊. Nothing is more satisfying and motivating than knowing your organization respects your personal life and encourages you to enjoy it.
#4 Make the Most of It
Everybody is complaining about how much time gets wasted while traveling to and back from work – I 100% agree, if you spend that time doing exactly that. There are so many things that can be done while traveling. I, personally, use that time to read the news, read articles on topics of interest, answer last night’s texts or simply keep up with the latest tour dates, music releases and my Spotify playlists.
In today’s society, most of us define ourselves, and others, by our job roles – hence enabling work to become more than what it really is: a necessary 40 hours/week activity providing you with the resources to live your actual life. You wake up, go to work, get back home, sleep and get up early next morning to do it all again!
Now, it is up to you to…
… make it right.