Contents 

• Introduction

• What is work life balance?

• What are common difficulties with finding balance? 

• Importance of Work Life Balance 

• The Secret Formula

1. Identify Your Values

2. Take Stock of Your Schedule 

3. Structure Your Day

4. Identify When Work and Life are Out of Balance - Make Adjustments

5. Accept that You Will Have to Make Sacrifices

6. Be Present in the Moment 

7. Ask for Help When You Need it

8. Focus on Connecting with Others 

9. Set Aside Time for You

10. Find Your Neutral Stress Free Zone

11. Take Care of Your Health

  

Introduction

Achieving work life balance is an ongoing struggle for many women.

In fact, a recent study by EY Global Generations found that women are amongst those who find it hardest to strike the right balance between a day job and home life.

With roles ranging from mum, wife, friend, and sister, to boss, colleague and employee – it is no wonder why women find it so hard.

How can one person possibly fulfil all of these roles without having a nervous breakdown?

Well, the fact is, there are days when juggling the balance between work and life falls apart. There are days when we find ourselves in wrinkly pants at work, or late to the school play because we were delayed by a meeting. However, you can make these kinds of days the exception, not the rule, by taking steps to improve you work life balance. In doing so, you can live a more healthy and fulfilling life.

achieving work life balance

In this article we will discuss what a work life balance is, common challenges women face, and strategies you can follow to find your own personal balance. You will learn how to draw boundaries and enjoy the many beautiful aspects of your life.


What is work life balance?

Women, work, life, balance. Four words which are much easier to write, than to coordinate in life. Finding work life balance doesn’t mean equally dividing the hours of the day between work and home. It means finding the place where you make time for yourself, for your personal life and for your work life. It is that balance where you don’t feel worn out, guilty and tired on an ongoing basis. You take care of yourself, your family, your friends and your job. You know what matters to you, and you live your life accordingly. You have boundaries and you follow them. Achieving work life balance requires reevaluating YOUR priorities, deciding what you want to spend time on, and who you want to spend time with.


What are common difficulties with finding balance?

work and life balance

A few of the most common obstacles that women face when balancing their work and personal lives are as follows:


Leaving the kids

Children want their moms, and moms are most often the primary care giver of children. However, it is best to consider what a child’s life would be like if their mom were NOT working.  For some moms, it is an absolute necessity to work, and if they did not make enough money, their kids would do without many important items. For others, work may not be required financially, but is still valuable to their personal development and happiness. The reality is that work is a necessary part of modern day life for women. As children grow, they will learn the place of work in life, from their mother’s example.


More Responsibilities at Home

The woman of a household still takes care of the cooking, shopping, caring for sick kids and cleaning, more often than their male counterparts. While representing a growing portion of the workforce, women are still expected to care for the home as they have when they were not working. This can cause a reduced amount of down time for relaxation, which can lead to burn out because they feel there is no time to relax.


Not Asking for Help 

Many women feel that they are not allowed to ask for help. Not from their families, not from their neighbours, not from their husbands, and CERTAINLY not from their employers. However, this is not the case. If you find yourself in a situation where your work and life balance are falling apart, evaluate everything you have taken on, and what you can delegate out. Jayne Anderson is a TV producer, and mother of four, who spent 8 years researching the work life balance conundrum. She wrote a book called Working It Out in which she shares that partner support is key in finding the perfect balance.


Importance of Work Life Balance 

work life balance articles

If you have told yourself that you can do it all, should do it all, and will do it all, but you continue to fall short, you are not alone. Many women give and give, but don’t take care of their own needs. You can’t do this forever. If you do, you will sacrifice your own health and well-being in the process. Women, work life balance is not an option, it’s a MUST!

Why is not achieving work life balance non-negotiable? Because, you matter. You matter a lot. In addition, the people that you love matter, and so does your job. If you don’t give yourself a chance to breathe, and an opportunity to stop and smell the roses, you will be no good to anyone. You will sacrifice your physical and mental health, and will probably not be the employee, mom, wife, daughter, sister or friend that you so desperately desire to be. 

Instead, you will be…    

• Fatigued
• Stressed
• Unhealthy
• Anxious/depressed

A Mental Health Foundation survey found that 1/3 of respondents were unhappy with the amount of time spent on work. Furthermore, 2/3 of employees experienced problems in their home life which ranged from mental and physical health problems, to poor relationships, and a lack of personal development. When you are not able to balance work, family, friends and life, then you need to evaluate why. It is time to take control of your life and see that you do have a choice. You have the choice to create the life you want. Here is what you can to do find your own unique life balance.


The Secret Formula

A lot of work life balance articles make it sound simple – just stop doing what you are doing. Oh! Wouldn’t that be nice?  However, for many of us, it is a lot more complicated than that. You didn’t get unbalanced in a day, so you won’t be able to completely regain balance in a day either. However, your work life balance is an absolute key to your happiness and health, so it will be well worth the effort! What is more important than a well-balanced, peaceful life?


1. Identify Your Values 

women work life balance

Achieving work-life balance begins with taking a long, hard look in the mirror. Who are you? What matters to you? What do you value? If you have trouble with this process, you should enlist the help of your spouse, or another person who is close to you in your life. Decide what you value most of all. This will help you to align your life, with your values. It may not be comfortable to be honest about your values – maybe you wish your main value was your health, but it just is not. However, identifying these is the only way to live the life that YOU truly want. Sit down and make a list of your top 5 values, in order of priority, and then compare that list to your ACTUAL life. If, for example, quality time with family is high on that list, but is not getting the priority attention in your life, you may need to make some adjustments.


2. Take Stock of Your Schedule 

achieving work life balance

You’re a busy lady, so you likely have a timetable for your life. It may be in your phone, or above your desk, but wherever it is, sit down with it and take a look. Take your priority list from above and align it with your schedule. How much of your schedule is devoted to others? How much is devoted to work? How much is devoted to your kids? Your home? Your husband? And, by the way, where do you fall on that list of high priorities on the schedule? “Me” time matters! Yes, all of the work life balance articles out there talk about “Me” time, and it has become a bit of a cliché, but it is so incredibly important. If you don’t take care of yourself, it is not likely that anyone else will. Your boss is not going to tell you to go take some time to get your nails done. Your husband probably won’t remind you to go to yoga class. It is up to you.


3. Structure Your Day

Developing a predictable routine can be hard. When you have a ton of varied responsibilities, you may feel the urge to handle them all at once. But, you just can’t. Therefore, decide which things will happen when, and try your best to stick to that schedule. 

For example:

7 am – wake up, wake kids, and eat breakfast – NO WORK RELATED ACTIVITIES

8 am – get dressed, get out of the door by 8:30 – make this a time that is highly routine so that you, your kids, your hubby, and whomever else is around, doesn’t feel like they are in chaos.

9 am – get to work. Begin to work on work-related items NOW. 

10 am – take a quick break to get some fresh air. Perhaps, make this the time that you check your child’s daycare web cam to see what they are up to. Then, when you go back into the office, do not obsess over your kids.

11 am – work, work, work

12 pm – lunch. Perhaps this can be “you” time. Don’t think, talk or worry about work. Also, don’t think, talk or worry about what is going on at home, or at your child’s school. Eat your lunch in peace.

… You get the gist. The idea is that you should allocate times of day for certain things and try your hardest not to do them all at once.  No one can check on the kids, answer emails and eat lunch at one time… and, even if you can, you will be doing a halfhearted job at them all.


4. Identify When Work and Life are Out of Balance - Make Adjustments

work and life balance

Once you have gone over your schedule and attempted to create a balanced structure, continue to look at it as time passes. Make tweaks and try and find ways to keep the balance, or achieve an even better one. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Enjoy your life. Find ways to bring peace and happiness into your world. You really do deserve it.


5. Accept that You Will Have to Make Sacrifices

In addition, accept that you will have to make sacrifices. It may not be possible to raise 4 kids, manage a home business, and keep the house clean. You may need to say, “To heck with the house!” some days, or hire a maid. You may need to sacrifice more money to be a more present mom. You may need to get less sleep, to make a better future for your family. It’s all about your values and your goals. No one can tell you what to value or how to do it.


6. Be Present in the Moment 

work life balance articles

A lot of times we think we are doing a great job of handling many things at once. However, when we really step back and pay attention to what is going on around us, we may realise that we have been spending a lot of time “elsewhere.”  When you are at work, really be there. Be the best advertiser, or teacher, or chef that you can possibly be. But, when you are done, leave work at work and be present for your family, for yourself and for your LIFE. Being around your kids, but not being WITH them, is of no good to them. By the same token, being at work, but doing a lack-luster job, is not really of benefit to anyone either.


7. Ask for Help When You Need it

You need help. Ask for it. Explain your needs. Never allow anyone to shame you into feeling that you are not entitled to support. Women take on far too much, too often, and sacrifice their health and happiness in the process. Don’t let that be you.


8. Focus on Connecting with Others 

women work life balance

Find other women with similar interests, hobbies, jobs or family situations. Connect with them by talking, sharing stories and inspiring one another. You can also turn to them them as a shoulder to cry on OR, let’s say it again, to ASK FOR HELP!


9. Set Aside Time for You

Manage your stress with a quick account of your “fun” time. Yes, you deserve to do something fun. Every single day. In that calendar that we talked about earlier, when you structure your day, add in something fun. Go for a walk outside, drink a lovely mug of tea, meet up with a friend, listen to your favourite song, or simply take a quick nap.


10. Find Your Neutral Stress Free Zone

Find a place in your life where you can be stress free and simply enjoy life. Some examples:

• The gym

• The library

• Your favourite café

• Your garden

• Your car (blast some music and roll down the windows!)


11. Take Care of Your Health

achieving work life balance

Proper diet and exercise improve the work life balance. Although exercising might seem like it takes more time out of your day, the benefits actually flow back into work and life. If you have read any work life balance articles out there, you have probably heard this, but this should be taken seriously. The bottom line is that a person who exercises, improves the likelihood that they are going to achieve balance, feel better, look better and enjoy their life more. Period.

In closing, if you are ready to make a change, but still are about to jump up from reading this article and find something to stress and worry over, stop for a moment. Ask yourself some questions…

If you have children, particularly if you have a daughter, evaluate what kind of a life that you would want them to have. (No kids? Consider a younger sibling, niece or nephew…) Do you hope that they rush through their adult life on the verge of mental and physical breakdown? Do you hope that they are hard on themselves, feel guilty all of the time, and let their health fall to the back burner? Do you hope that they rarely find time for fun?

work and life balance

No! Of course not! You hope all of the exact opposite things for them. So start, right now, today. Set an example of what a happy and balanced life can and should be.  Be the best that you can be, so that you can live the life of your deepest desires. Make the most of this one life that you have for yourself and watch how your life blesses those around you. 

 

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