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Some ways to achieve that elusive work-life balance

Posted August 7

While some might disregard it as a myth, work-life balance can be found. Often, it's just in how you look at it. (Deseret Photo)

“Work-life balance” is one of those terms that gets thrown around in workplace culture, but what does it really mean? And how can a person achieve it?

Managing work and a personal life is difficult enough that 60 percent of 2,000 working Americans surveyed reported “an unhealthy work-life balance, with little to no time to unwind after work,” with a third of respondents stating that they work too hard, according to Glamour.

The survey concluded Americans would need four extra hours per day to get everything they need done and also relax, Glamour noted.

But before dismissing work-life balance as an unattainable myth, consider these tips from themuse.com:

  • Follow an established morning and bedtime routine to make sure days start and end on the right note. Nighttime rituals especially serve as a signal to your body that it’s time to wind down for sleep.
  • Get some physical activity to free up stress by something as small as walking or biking to work.
  • Take some quiet time, such as taking lunch away from your desk, and time for creative expression, which lets you channel negative feelings in a productive way. It can be something as simple as writing a blog post.
  • When assigned an important project at work, talk to your boss about expectations and potential difficulties, to be better prepared and feel more in control.
One problem that leaves some workers floundering for balance is that habits and techniques used at an earlier age don’t always translate well into adulthood, jamaica-gleaner.com noted.

“Remember when you were 16 years old and could consume copious amounts of sweet, fatty, greasy foods?” Francis Wade, author of "Perfect Time-Based Productivity," wrote. “Now, that very same behaviour gets you in trouble because your metabolism has slowed to a crawl.”

Take that same approach when considering what will work to attain success now, not when you were younger.

Lifehacker.com said the term work-life balance is a misleading one. Instead of viewing the concept as an inflexible balancing act, lifehacker.com suggested looking at the issue in terms of boundaries.

“It’s fine to value stability, but since life isn’t still, putting balance on a pedestal is problematic,” Lauren Laitin wrote. Instead, there are three ways a person can set boundaries:

  • Set boundaries daily, according to the day’s priorities and your previous commitments.
  • Establish your boundaries with others, such as when to talk about work with your significant other or how often you can meet with coworkers after work.
  • If you can't live up to those boundaries, redefine them so you can.

Email: smanderson@deseretnews.com, Twitter: @Sarahsonofander.

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