Across the world, there is increasing pressure on our work-life balance. In fact, today’s work culture is causing spiralling mental well-being challenges for a disproportionate number of people. Therefore, we must strive for a harmonious balance between our working lives and leisure time. We should be able to manage our time in the office and find time for our friends, families, exercise and hobbies, eating and sleeping well.
Unfortunately, long working hours have become commonplace in the workplace and encourage unhealthy and deep-rooted habits, not only for us but also for our colleagues. The past couple of years have been particularly challenging across many industries. You may have felt pressured into working longer hours so that you can pay the mortgage, bills and support your family. If you run your own small or medium-sized company, you will put your own set of pressures on yourself in order to succeed.
Are you able to take a step back and regularly check your work-life balance?
The Harvard Business School recently conducted numerous interviews with professionals from a London based global law and accounting firm. Each employee described their job as demanding, exhausting and thought that working long hours was necessary for their future success. Interestingly, the research showed it is necessary to examine our own beliefs, judgements and assumptions. This cyclic tool allows us to understand our self-awareness and allow our priorities to evolve. But how do you do it?
The five steps
Often, we box up our feelings of dissatisfaction in the workplace. Ask yourself what is causing you stress or feelings of despair. What are you missing out on? What are your priorities? How is it affecting your work and personal life? By allowing yourself to breathe, you can discover whether you have a healthy balance. Or not.
- How do you feel?
Now that you have more clarity about your current circumstances, ask yourself, ‘How do I feel?’. Are you happy, satisfied, angry, bitter? As you begin to understand how you feel, you’ll appreciate to a greater extent how you want to improve your current work situation.
Take the time to really understand what must change. You might decide that working long hours affects the time spent with your family. By working late into the evening or during weekend hours, it is apparent that you are missing out on necessary ‘me’ time, socialising and practising sports and hobbies. What are you missing?
- What are your alternatives?
What can you change at work or within your business to meet your newfound priorities?
- Make the change
Although it could feel daunting, ask for flexible hours, take a break at the weekend, don’t check your emails after hours, and leave on time.
The cycle and solution
Now that you understand the importance of practising these five steps, you will consciously make positive changes in your life. You have a straightforward solution to your ‘overworked’ status if you run your own company – employ a virtual assistant. A good VA has an intuitive way of stepping in when you most need her.