The Importance of A Work/Life Balance

balance

It’s so easy for me to get caught up in tasks at work that I end up staying late at the office. By the time the weekend rolls around, I am ready to get on a jet plane to Riviera Maya and never come back. Most days of the month I keep a pretty good handle on balancing the two halves of my life, but sometimes, one or the other is ready to fall off the edge.

Although I give 110% while I’m at work, my marriage and my family are my top priority. As soon as I get in my car at the end of the day, I start shutting work tasks out of my mind. It is important to be fully present wherever you are, all the time. Being fully present at home means no emails, and no phone calls unless it is an absolute emergency after 5:00 pm. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job helping people get their perfect steel building, but family always comes first.

If we take a closer look at the idea of a perfect work/life balance, some questions arise.

Is it really possible to achieve a true work/life balance? Do males and females have the same chance at a balanced work and home life? Often, the discussion is one-sided. Women have been the central part of the work/life discussion for years–how does a woman raise a family while moving up the ranks in her career? Is it possible to be both a good mother and an excellent businesswoman?

Long gone are the days of men working all day to come home to a cooked meal and dutiful wife. Now, men are staying home with the kids while their wives work. Better yet, both parents are working and trading off home duties between each other.

In recent news, Max Schireson, co-founder and CEO of tech company MongoDB, stepped down from his role as CEO to take a lesser role inside the company. In a lengthy blog post about his decision, Schireson explains that the almost constant travel from San Francisco to New York City had put a huge damper on his family time. Schireson explains that he didn’t make his decision to step down as CEO lightly, but weighed his options for several weeks before publicly announcing it.

Schireson’s candor about stepping down as CEO has dragged men into the work/life balance conversation whether they’d like to be a part of it or not. Men have historically been less inclined to open up about these tough decisions to the public.

Now that both men and women find themselves in the conversation of the ideal work/life balance, the question remains, is it possible to achieve the perfect work/life balance? Father Holding Daughter's HandThere are thousands of articles and resources attempting to answer this question. Some say there is such a thing as a work/life balance, others say there is no way to truly achieve the perfect balance.

In order to have a sustainable relationship between two ideas or forces, one must give while the other takes and vice versa. Do they get along in perfect harmony all the time? No. There will be times when your personal life suffers while your work life soars, and there will be times when you must put down the cell phone and spend time with family.

Take the time to figure out if your life truly is in balance or not. Make a list of ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ if you have to. When you get back to work, do your best to turn the ‘cons’ in to ‘pros’ until it feels like there is more of a balance in your life.

Create a schedule that works best for you. Don’t let yourself answer emails in bed–the space where you sleep should be a relaxed zone, one where you go to wind down, not get work done. If you must work at home, create a cut off time for media–No laptop, iPhone or tablet after 7:00 pm.

If you have recently started your own business, more than likely you especially need to find a nice balance. You’re doing your best to stay on top of all the emails, orders, and so forth yourself, some with a limited staff. A brand new business can turn a personal life into a work life very quickly. If you have already or are just starting your new business, you are thinking, “Ha. What personal life?” In which case the point is already made–you’re spending too much time on your business. Give yourself a break each day to recharge your brain. It’s important to stay sharp and clear-headed when fostering a new company. Skipping lunch to catch up on business doesn’t do anyone any good–your productivity suffers when your brain is tired and overworked. Taking time to rest, relax and recharge your mind is crucial to keeping your business on track.

If you can’t pull yourself away for more than an hour at a time, take your laptop outside and sit in the sunshine while you work. If you have to make a lengthy phone call, take a stroll to get some fresh air. Schedule time to go to the gym or jog around the neighborhood.

It is nearly impossible to have a perfectly balanced life, but it is important to try. Once you begin to schedule time for yourself, your work productivity will increase by leaps and bounds.

If you enjoyed this blog by Kitty Uhle check out some of her other blogs by clicking here.

Photo courtesy: Spirit-Fire, Procsilas Moscas

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