Today’s society places such high importance on achievement, professional fulfillment, and monetary rewards that some individuals spend an inordinate amount of time at work, thus feeling out of balance relative to other important roles in their lives. Work-life balance suggests a harmony or equilibrium between the time and attention allocated for work and the time and attention allocated to other aspects of life including personal interests, family, social, and leisure activities.
Balance doesn’t suggest an equal allocation of time to every important aspect, but rather an arrangement of time that facilitates good health and personal satisfaction while also achieving professional productivity and success. As author Joshua Osenga has defined it, “Balance is a feeling derived from being whole and complete; it’s a sense of harmony. It is essential to maintaining quality in life and work.”
Why is it Important to Balance Work and Life?
The consequences of poor work-life balance include increased fatigue, stress leading to poor health, lost time with friends and loved ones, and lop-sided personal development. The benefits of good work-life balance include reduced stress so that individuals can enjoy all aspects of life more, improved job motivation and work performance, better health, and higher employee motivation.
What are the Signs of Poor Work-Life Balance?
Signs of poor work-life balance include:
- Reduced employee productivity due to exhaustion.
- Increased absenteeism.
- Weight gain and possible obesity.
- The evidences of burnout, including loss of interest in projects and emotional outbreaks.
How to Create Better Personal Work-Life Balance
As motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar said, “I believe that being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life.” Personal actions to achieve better balance include:
- Schedule down-time and breaks, so that you have time to refresh and reboot.
- Be willing to delegate tasks to other team members.
- Break large assignments and tasks into smaller tasks.
- Review your work and daily schedule, then remove any activities that aren’t important and that drain your energy or sap your time.
- Focus on key priorities.
- Say no when appropriate.
- Put a priority on spending time with the people who support you.
- Recognize quality over quantity.
- Don ‘t be too busy to meet new people and spend time with partners, friends, and family.
- Get some movement into your day to keep you more alert.
How to Create Better Balance in the Workplace
It is important for small business owners to create an environment for themselves and their employees to enhance work-life balance in the business. This can include:
- Setting boundaries in business relationships with customers, vendors, and employees.
- Be consistent with the expectations of your partners and team members.
- Allow everyone to take breaks and allow some work flexibility.
- Outsource critical work so that you and your team members are not overloaded beyond a reasonable scope of time and abilities. That can include such things as bookkeeping, data entry, technical support, invoicing, office cleaning, and more.
- Set manageable goals for your business.
- Establish clear systems and processes.
- Create a positive culture.
- Communicate effectively.
After all, as American theologian and writer Thomas Merton said, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”
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