The art of balancing work and life; intergration

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Work/Life Balance is a common term we get to hear used in our day to day life, I bet most times we never really get to focus and understand true inner meaning it bears.

Today, work life balance is essential for success and necessary in attaining and maintaining productivity over a longer period of time unlike the old times you never got to hear much about it.

Work life balance bears with it many subtle but vital advantages to both the employee and the employer, when we get this balance right, we attain understanding and importance of inter dependencies in our lives as well as gain ability to spot out opportunities that we may otherwise fail to see and take advantage of to attain that which we want.

To have a good life work balance, we need to understand the various life components we are striking a balance between, taking initiative to attend to all, without neglect or denial of attention to either at the cost of another, let us have this components in the below five classes.

  1. Family
  2. Work
  3. Social
  4. Spiritual
  5. Health

If and when any one of these component suffers neglect, a state of in-equilibrium is created within us, while in this state, we cannot attain the so called state of mental success, that component that suffers neglect has direct repercussions on the others either in turns or even all at the same time. We strike a successful life when we utilize our ability to find content in handling all these key components of our lives.

These days, being busy is the norm, in fact we have come to accept the phrase “am busy” as an acceptable answer to the everyday question “How are you?”. Not only are we stuck in our sky high aiming busy schedules, we are filling every single corner we can in our schedules which initially seem to form from our day to day activities that we find time for and tend to lack time for or ignore and eventually neglect those others we do not find time for equally, as if that’s not enough, we transfer this kind of handling things to our kids as well because we get the notion of feeling important to be busy or less important when less busy.

However on the other hand, we realize being busy does not necessarily give us the fulfillment we desire, it gives lesser attention to our social life, friends and family tend to be the first to suffer then follows our own physical and mental health when bombarded by the effects of the items we found no time for, sending us into a loop that sees us get less and less productive and fulfilled, we realize we are not as happy as we might have thought we are,  neither are we as fulfilled or happy as we strive to be.

There is however something we can do to address this, working towards our dreams while balancing these other important life components takes us to another level of fulfillment, realizing that all these components are connected and all need our attention in-order to realize a more fulfilled life makes us better people; better parents, partners, workers, coworkers as well as better members of the society.

But why don’t more people live a more balanced life instead of busy, is it the perception or the knowledge we have or just normal practice because that’s what others do?

Living a well-balanced life takes continuous working which we tend to escape from as it feels much easier to be busy, which makes us end up saying yes to everything and by doing that we clear away the thought to worry about acting lazy, antisocial or even harboring uncomfortable feelings.

We lose so much by being unbalanced, focus, patience, energy, friends, advantages, opportunities, positions to name but just a few, we forget that everything works dependent on one another either directly or indirectly, meaning everything works in a system and that does not exclude our own lives.

We only get to realize this when the system provides your timely replacement because your own systems are broken down or aged and just seem to slow the rest of the system down, that’s when the system retires you to go and rest

Getting back to being balanced sound more like what to do to maintain an optimal productivity level, though easily put, balance Is not another skill we can just wish and obtain, it’s a whole load of skills we need to work on and acquire through practice, just like riding a bicycle, it requires dynamic awareness to balance on the bike, move forward, navigate through obstacles, break to stop and be able to enjoy the ride and this requires learning and practice.

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The first step in solving any problem is acknowledging the reality of the situation you are in, and the reality of the society we are in is that thousands of people out there live a life of screaming desperation, working long hours of jobs they hate, to buy things that they do not need to impress people they don’t like. Certain jobs and career choices are fundamentally incompatible with being meaningfully engaged on a day to day basis and the idea of going to work in a simple jeans and t-shirt on a Friday is not really getting to the nerve of the issue.

We need to face the truth that governments, corporations and companies aren’t going to solve this issue for us, we should stop looking outside and realize it’s up to us individuals to take control and responsibility for the type of life that we want to live. If you don’t design your life, someone else is going to design it for you, something you might just not like their idea of balance.

It’s particularly important that you never put the quality of your life in the hands of a commercial cooperation, this is because commercial companies are designed to get as much as possible out of you, in fact the most they can and still get away with it, It’s in their nature and has been since time in memorial, it is what they know how to do best, that includes the good well intentioned company, those that will go out of their way to establish a child care facility at the work place or a gym, which on one had sounds like a wonderful idea, but on the other it’s a night mare meaning you spend more time at the office.

Setting and enforcing the boundary that we want in our lives has to be done by us.

When we think about attaining this in our daily lives, we have to incorporate a number of hacks to help achieve the so called life balance, it is however not perfect but has helped me figure how I can attain my optimal balance of work and life.

Do what you love.

Essentially what we love doing has a way of integrating with everything else around our lives, it grants more fulfillment and understanding into life that can be replicated in various other areas in life as every element is connected to our lives.

Getting up earlier and getting started

Waking up early is a way to get a head start so you are on top of your day events as opposed to chasing the day as it unwraps.

Set goals, plans and prioritize, clear goals make life so much easier because you know where you are going, how to get there and with more control, without them there is likelihood of feeling of confusion and frustration and this can drain your energy and decrease your productivity, a good technique is to decide what’s important to you and to write it down, writing it down ensures clarity as well as increases likelihood to achieve the goal. In writing the goals, make sure they are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely say for example instead of writing becoming healthy, put down that you are to go to the gym 3 days a week at 6 o’clock for 1 hour, thinking about your goal like this increases the chances making it more likely to achieve.

Have a structure in place all around you, schedule your time both at work and at home, without a structure, following this on a daily basis has really helped me get my head unburdened off the many items I used to commit to that made me work all the time, giving me that notion of being busy but getting very little done, life gets a bit more chaotic without one.

Practice good time management. The trick with good time management is to do the right thing at the right time, in the right way and for the right length of time, establish your priorities and focus on those tasks that advance the most important goals that will bring in high payoff results, activities that might take too long should be simplified, delegated or eliminated. Good time management means focusing on results, it is awesome to aim for excellence and not necessarily perfection, when you aim for excellence, you achieve excellent results but when you aim for perfection, you may never quite get there.

Take holidays and long weekends so that you can freshen your perspective on what needs to be done. It’s easy to tell yourself that you are indispensable and you always need to be around but if you have a good structure in place with a good support system you can take time off.

Reward yourself, rewards are important because they are something extra you have been working for so after you have set your goals and achieved them, take your reward both at work and at home.

Turn off the emails at night and on the weekends. Most likely we all have cell phones with our work emails available on them. The phones allow you to shut off the emails so take advantage of it. That way when you need to use the phone the emails aren’t tempting you to respond. Especially don’t look at them before bed. They tend to make you think about them and can mess with your sleep.

Do some kind of exercise after work which can help take your mind off the day’s stressors.

Don’t over-commit. I assumed that with my kids having gone to school and out of the house that I would have a lot of extra time available which I did but ended up getting involved in many small businesses here and besides the rewards they ended up adding more to my workload and spilling over to work and personal time

Stay healthy, it’s important to eat well, sleep well and exercise, staying healthy is a must at home as it is at work.

Strive to be positive, passionate and enthusiastic, choose to stay with positive people both privately and professionally, identify the obstacle but rise above that and see the opportunity and when you can’t see the positive in any situation, look harder in different perspectives.

Love your life, enjoy the journey every day, be true to yourself, enrich yourself culturally, socially, intellectually, and constantly focus on your personal development.

Keep revisiting and reviewing your schedules so you adjust accordingly

Getting your work life balance should get you achieving much more in both your work and life

Read books, take courses and seminars on life work balance.

The Employer

On the other hand and perspective, employers have their fair share of responsibility in promoting a good work life balance if the best is what they need to achieve.

Having employees know you support their healthy work-life balance doesn’t necessarily mean they will take responsibility for it themselves. You have experienced this – the boss says employees don’t have specific set of hours in a day, but the workers stay on until 8 pm, when they are given unlimited Paid time off (PTO), they never actually take a vacation.

Balance is a lot easier said than done. Lead by example, Head out the office by 5 on certain days. Choose not to answer to emails after work hours. Your employees will learn of how much you value your personal time, and won’t feel guilty for prioritizing theirs. More tips you can adapt are as listed below.

Promote Health Initiatives

An integral part of work-life balance is prioritizing health. Long work hours usually coupled with long commutes often force employees sacrifice on health and fitness. However, as an employer, there are a few things you can do to help your workers maintain healthy lifestyles. For example, you can offer discount gym memberships for a fitness center with proximity to the office this way, it is more affordable and convenient for employees. Hold optional classes at work an inspirational speaker at 3 pm on Tuesdays or sponsor company club sports teams, office car park painting by staff – this promotes work-life balance and your company’s image at the same time!

Decreased Health Care Costs and Stress-Related Illnesses;

With the ever increasing company cost on health care insurance, work/life programs becomes an intelligent choice to assist lower the number of hours spent seeking healthcare and the claims that go with it, not forgetting the support and absent ism you will have to cover for in case the concern is terminal.

Up-to a quarter of absenteeism in the office is due to stress-related effects.

Embrace “Flextime”

Allowing your employees to have flexible work hours, often referred to as “flextime,” is a great way to encourage a healthy work-life balance at your office. Keep rotating the periods either weekly, monthly or quarterly, whichever works best for you. Flextime will allow your employees have a life outside of work. They can get their work done, attend to their child’s soccer game or little ballerina show, attend a class or even find time to chat or put across a good word for you while out there. This not only shows how much you value your employees but the people and the systems around them.

To add on to this, absenteeism Research has documented that work/life balance programs can reduce absenteeism. Johnson & Johnson “found out” that there was a 50% decline in absenteeism among employees who used flexible work options.

Educate Employees

One of the best ways to promote healthy work-life balance is to enlighten your employees about it. Offer seminars or bring in someone to speak about what work-life balance is, why it’s important as well as the different ways they can achieve it. You can host the seminar yourself, have them take a webinar, or even hire a professional to come give the presentation for you.

Motorola, for instance allows employees to participate in their LIVESMART program that includes seminars on health and wellness, advice on commute management and even free will education. Educating your employees arms them with the tools they need to help themselves help you better.

“You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful.

“You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.”

“Take care of yourself: When you don’t sleep, don’t exercise, eat unhealthy and live off adrenaline for too long, your performance dwindles.

 

Frank

Frank Odhiambo

Mind Grid Perspectives

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2 thoughts on “The art of balancing work and life; intergration

  1. Hi Frank, I enjoyed your thoughts on the topic of Work/Life Balance. I find life itself, in all its layers is quite a balance. When we take some time to consider all the parts, as you did in your piece, we can’t help but be enriched. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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