How to Balance for Better
Balancing periods of extreme concentration with a different activity to give your mind a break
Throughout history to date, people are driven to perform at their workplace. This either comes from within or the pressures set by the organization. There is a large section of these employees who are on a constant quest for the next challenge and are intensively competitive. In their pursuit to achieve their goals at the workplace, work-life balance is one of the first sacrifices made. While this approach might get them ahead in the corporate ladder, are they able to manage their work-life balance? To be honest, some do, while others fail miserably.
It has been scientifically proven that an imbalance in life could potentially lead to emotional stress, anxiety and even depression. As a result, a recent survey says that around 60per cent of working professionals rates their current work-life balance between average and terrible. In their quest for further achievement, most often people end up burning out under the pressure or remain frustrated at their failed attempts to spend time outside their cubicles.
Most people are juggling multiple things in life apart from work – relationships, child care, elderly parent care, running a household, volunteering and hobbies/interests. This means, that apart from work, they need to dedicate their time to these critical elements of their lives. According to a report by Business Improvement, ‘the higher levels of work-to-family conflict reported by managers or professionals often are a function of their longer work hours.’ Therefore, how can employees make the time for what is important to them outside of work?
The answer is very simple – have a productive and effective work-day. Spend eight hours a day at work and give it your all…focus! This is better than spending 16 hours at work just staring at the screen or carrying home the work. It is important to get the right amount of rest in a day to help you be effective at work and in life in general.
It is also critical to understand the need for taking short breaks at work in order to help your mind rest and recuperate. In fact, professional athletes call this ‘Performing Dissociative Activities’. It basically means balancing periods of extreme concentration with a different activity to give your mind a break. These activities can be as simple and mindless as you need or even completely unrelated to your current work. The whole aim is you change the flow of your thinking. But when taking these breaks, it is also important to understand the importance of keeping these activities short and not too long as otherwise, you would again be facing an imbalance. The need for balance varies from person to person as it is critical to find out how much time you require to relax and recharge. Experiment on small breaks and find out what works for you the best.
Apart from taking short breaks, you can also create your Work-Life Balance by making sure you not only achieve, but also reflect on the joy of the job, and the joy of life, every day. It is important to pat yourself on the back even if nobody else may pat you.
Another key factor for an effective work-life balance is to have a good support system within and outside the organization. Build support systems within your family and your organization to help you cope. Family members and friends can play a key role in helping you through key elements like taking care of the household, childcare… basically some day to day activities. A good support system at work can help you have a sounding board, someone to share your concerns and work-related struggles (as well as the successes). Sharing your feelings and struggles with those close to you at work and home helps you cope with the stress better.
Another downside to not having a good work-life balance is its effect on health. It is critical to ensure, you focus on health – be it ample rest, healthy diet or exercise.
While there is a lot that can be said about the best practices for a good work-life balance, it all boils down to what works for you! You will need to test and try out various methods before you find the right solution that works for you!