Work-life balance has been around for a lot longer than the Millennial generation. Despite their focus on creating better work-life balance, the term has been in use since the 80’s.
According to Work–Life Balance: History, Costs, and Budgeting for Balance: “The Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1980s brought work–life balance back to the forefront. To accommodate women in the workforce, flexible working schedule and maternity leave were popularized.” While the term was initially only used for women, the benefits and ideas soon expanded to include men in the working world as well.
Nowadays, the work-life balance concept has been championed by employees and companies worldwide as necessary in our digital world. In fact, we even have lists like The 25 Small U.S. Companies With the Best Work-Life Balance.
The question is, however, what exactly is work-life balance and whether it is attainable. Let’s dive in.
What is work-life balance
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, work-life balance is defined as “the amount of time you spend doing your job compared with the amount of time you spend with your family and doing things you enjoy.”
In a world where employees are praised for working at all hours of the day and night, where 40 percent of people use their computers after 10pm, it can be challenging to find a balance between enjoying and enriching your personal life and being successful at work. It’s easy to check your phone during dinner or wake up early and hop online to get work done before heading into the office.
This makes creating work-life balance challenging, but is it impossible?
Is it achievable?
The answer to this popular question depends on what you prioritize. If you want to create better work-life balance in your life, in most cases, the power is in your hands to make that happen. If you’re stressed to the max and need to take a step back, here are a few ideas to consider.
If you feel your work is cutting into your personal life, it’s time to have a conversation with your boss. There may be an opportunity to delegate work to other employees or take a big project off of your lap.
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If your boss doesn’t know you’re overloaded, he or she can’t help, so first and foremost, speak up.
Often you’re not required to work at night, but when an email comes in, you see the notification, read the email and then get pulled into doing something else.
Set boundaries for yourself, like no email after dinner, or no work before breakfast, so you can create space to enjoy your personal life.
Get an app
If you know you’ll still check email or do work, download an app that will block your work apps during certain times of day. There are such apps that allow you to personalize settings to block notifications and apps for specific times and days.
For example, you may block all work email notifications on Saturdays and Sundays so you’re not tempted to read them.
If you give yourself time to recharge and do something else for a change, you will definitely see results in your productivity at work. You will be able to focus better and be more efficient.
Work-life balance is not a myth
Work-life balance is not just a buzzword. It is possible to achieve balance, but it’s up to you to make it happen.
If your company is constantly pressing you to do more, it may be time to move on. In many cases, however, we’re our own worst enemy. Checking email before bed or doing work on Sunday when it’s not necessary is something we choose to do.
The good news is, you could have a better work-life balance as soon as tomorrow. So go ahead and make it happen.