By Jenny Crumrine:
The term work-life balance is annoyingly overused and often associated with a workaholic’s unhealthy addiction to work. It’s frequently used by recruiters trying to attract candidates and employees searching for a balance between their career and personal life.
However you feel about your own work-life balance, there’s always room for improvement, but improvement is going to take time and effort. A great place to start is to stop telling yourself these four lies:Are you telling yourself these lies? @Jenny_RBM wants you to stop lying to yourself about #WorkLifeBalance ASAP. Click To Tweet
“If I work fewer hours, I’ll be happier”
Working fewer hours seems like the most obvious way to gain a better work-life balance. Statistics show that Americans work more hours than most other countries. Clocking in 137 more hours annually than Japanese employees and 260 more hours annually than UK employees. Americans are also more likely to check emails outside of work hours and less likely to take vacation time. We are addicted to our work, and in many ways scaling back on our work hours will improve work-life balance, but it won’t fix everything.
Do you know someone who works part-time and hates their job? Sure, that’s because there are so many factors other than the number of hours worked that affect work-life balance and job satisfaction. Real balance means considering not only the number of hours worked but also stress and workload management, career goals, hobbies, and priorities.
“If it worked for Joe Shmoe, it’ll work for me”
There are a billion (or something like that) books on how Joe Shmoe achieved an awesome work-life balance. And, by all means, read ‘em, but don’t be shocked if Joe Shmoe’s method doesn’t work for you. If we had discovered a fool-proof “one size fits all” method, don’t you think there would be fewer books on the topic?
Everyone’s priorities are different, so the path to work-life balance looks different for everyone. Finding a method that works for you is going to take some time for trial and error.
“The best work-life balance is always 50/50 split between work and my personal life”
Sadly no, sometimes you’ll have to put more than 50% of your time and energy into work. The same goes for your personal life. It’s knowing when and where to allocate your resources that’s the tricky part.
For example, if it’s your busy season at work you’ll be putting more than 50% of your resources at work. Just make sure your busy season doesn’t get too long or end up being all the time. Be sure you are monitoring when it’s appropriate to pull back resources from work and relocate them to your personal life.
“I have it the worst”
You’d never say it to your coworkers, but you think it all the time.
Truth bomb time; you definitely don’t have it the worst, and it’s time to stop competing with others about how busy you are. Everyone is busy, and spreading yourself thin isn’t anything to boast about.Finding a healthy #WorkLifeBalance is tough. Stop telling yourself these 4 lies and see an improvement in no time. Click To Tweet
Our culture is obsessed with how busy we are. We glorify being too busy to eat regular meals, work out, and spend time with our families because somehow we’ve equated being busy with being successful and productive. In reality, those who have a healthy work-life balance and seem less busy are often seen as uncommitted or lacking career motivation.
Shifting this cultural obsession starts with you and your organization. Putting less emphasis on time spent in the office and more emphasis on actual productivity is a good start. Setting boundaries like not checking your email at certain times is another progressive step. But, the biggest step you can take is to acknowledge that everyone is busy and to stop competing for the fictional “Busiest Employee” award.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance takes time, but it also requires you to be honest with yourself. To make a more serious attempt at finding balance, stop telling yourself these lies and start prioritizing, setting boundaries, and maximizing your time.
Red Branch prides itself on helping our employees find balance, so much that it’s one of our values. Check out what our team has to say about a few of our other values like accountability, curiosity, getting things done, and agility.